Harvard Kennedy School hosts ‘restorative justice’ advocate who wants prisons abolished

This past Wednesday, Harvard’s Kennedy School hosted Danielle Sered, a “restorative justice” advocate who wants to do away with the nation’s prisons.

Sered (pictured) is the executive director of Common Justice which, according to its website, “develops and advances solutions to violence that transform the lives of those harmed and foster racial equity without relying on incarceration.”

The Crimson reports Sered told the Zoom discussion that her “end goal is the full abolition of the prison system.” To help make this happen, she wants to “make fewer things illegal […] arrest fewer people, [and] prosecute fewer people who are arrested.”

Sered also blasted prisons for putting people in “cages” where they get “[sexually] assaulted” and “degraded.”

“The core features of prison are shame, isolation, exposure to violence, and an inability to meet one’s economic needs,” Sered said. “So we’ve baked into our core responses to violence precisely the things that we know generate it. It’s like showing up at a house fire with a hose full of gasoline and acting surprised when the flames rage higher.”

From the story:

Sered also contrasted the recidivism rate in prisons with that of Common Justice, her own organization.

“What we know from the overwhelming evidence is that prison is likelier to produce more harmful outcomes,” she said. “It has recidivism rates, in some places, upwards of 80 percent.”

“If Common Justice had an 80 percent failure rate, we would not all be together today,” she added. “I would not have been on your invitation list.” …

“Common Justice — since our inception — has had fewer than 7 percent of our participants terminated from the program for new crimes on our watch,” she said.

Common Justice’s Advisory Council includes Harvard’s Khalil Muhammad (President Donald Trump was a “really big part of the problem” regarding whites calling cops on blacks for “insignificant reasons”) Michelle Alexander (her “The New Jim Crow” alleges the U.S. to this day continues to maintain a “racial caste system”), and Bruce Western (the “police, courts, and prisons [in the U.S.] have too often caused real harm in communities of color”).

MORE: Brown University activists discuss eliminating the nation’s prisons

MORE: Duke protesters irate at ‘incarceration-themed’ party, compare US prison system to the Holocaust

IMAGE: Danielle Sered/X

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