Top civil rights lawyer says U.S. criminal justice reforms are falling short

By Jeffrey Brown

In this PBS interview, Bryan Stevenson, a top civil rights leader and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, explains why he believes America’s disproportionally high rate of incarceration connects to institutional racism and slavery, and what he proposes for true criminal justice reform.

“I think [the high rate of incarceration] is a continuation of using crime narrative to control social and political dynamics that can’t be controlled in more legitimate ways. And we created this so-called war on drugs, and we targeted people of color, and we got everybody to buy into the fact that if we don’t put these dangerous people into jails and prisons, we are none safe. And that’s how we went nationwide from a prison population of about 300,000 in the 1970s to 2.3 million today. And now we have the highest rate of incarceration in the world.”

Read or listen to the full interview here.