In the tranquil days of autumn, when it looked like the 2016 campaign season would be a typical campaign in which the Republicans and Democrats disagree vehemently and expensively on push-button issues like immigration, abortion, counterterrorism and the like, criminal justice was an interesting wildcard. A confluence of concerns about racial injustice, family integrity and fiscal impact had both liberals and conservatives discussing reforms to the “lock ’em up” policies of the 1990s, which helped swell the country’s prison and jail population to alarming levels.
It was never clear just how far that partnership would go. Now it’s not clear that it will go anywhere. While criminal justice reform remains a popular debate topic on the Democratic side, it is unlikely to be heard over the din of the civil war in GOP land.
This week, Straight Up, the bar-based reporter roundtable series produced by BRIC-TV and hosted by yours truly, invited Albert Samaha from BuzzFeed and Alysia Santo from The Marshall Project to discuss their reporting on crime and punishment and the politics thereof.
Below is the full episode. If you are on your way to a Trump rally and pressed for time, you can catch clips sizing up the role of the criminal justice issue in the presidential race, the ongoing debate over the role of race in the justice system and some of the weird logic (and stats) in the discussion of non-violent versus violent offenders.