In a compelling interview with radio’s “Democracy Now,” Danielle Sered – executive director of Art for Justice grantee Common Justice – discussed her new book, “Until We Reckon,” and radical new ways to approach the violent crime in our society that precedes mass incarceration.
When asked to talk about reckoning with violence and mass incarceration, Danielle said:
“There’s no path to ending mass incarceration that doesn’t include addressing violence. That’s partly because, as you said, more than half of people in this country are incarcerated for crimes of violence, but it’s also because our national addiction to prison is based in a story about some imagined monstrous other, somebody who is not quite human the way we are, from whom we have to be protected at any cost.”
On the core roots of violence:
“Trauma hurts people. Isolation hurts people. And so, I’m in the business of ending violence. And we know the four core drivers of violence are shame, isolation, exposure to violence, and an inability to meet one’s economic needs.”
As an alternative to mass incarceration, Common Justice works to implement violence intervention programs that, Danielle said, “may include restitution, community service, getting work, getting clean, [or] talking to other young people in their neighborhood.” Successful completion of this program would allow offenders to avoid prison.