S4, Episode 8: Justice and Retribution (June, 27th, 2020)

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Justice and Retribution (Full Transcript *.docx)

A woman spends 40 years in and out of prison for shoplifting and finally gets a break from a judge in her late 50s. She uses the opportunity to abolish a jail and transform her city. This week we look at prison abolition and the arguments for eliminating all punishment from the system. From the denial that we have free will, to the view that perpetuating injustice disqualifies the state from punishing, we look at whether any of us have the right to punish anyone else, and question the very purpose of the criminal justice system.

Guest voices include Marilynn Winn, Gregg Caruso, Michael S. Moore, Erin Kelly, and Kimberly Kessler Ferzan.

In Slate Plus, Barry speaks to Kimberly Kessler Ferzan about separating the criminal justice system into two distinct institutions, one dedicated to retributive punishment, and one dedicated to crime prevention. Why should there be two systems and what would be involved in separating them?


Marilynn Winn’s Women on the Rise, Georgia.

Gregg Caruso’s Justice without Retribution network.

Kimberly Kessler Ferzan

Michael S. Moore‘s book Mechanical Choices: The Responsibility of the Human Machine

Erin Kelly‘s book The Limits of Blame