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Local jails

Pretrial Injustice

Incarceration ahead of trial is fundamentally unjust—a form of punishment that makes it virtually impossible to fight for your freedom.

Cyrus Gray

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excerpt

Defending Attica

How radical lawyers played a key role standing up for survivors of the Attica uprising.

Luca Falciola

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activism

Black Power Meets Police Power

The experiences of Michael and Zoharah Simmons show that the fight against the carceral state is embedded in a larger project of building a just world.

Dan Berger

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interventions

Brady ’s Failure

The rule was supposed to prevent prosecutors from hiding evidence. It hasn’t worked—but there’s a better way.

Thomas Dybdahl

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legal history

Blood in the Borderlands

Mexicans and Mexican Americans have long been targets of legal and extralegal violence by the police. Learning this history is a step toward ending abuses that persist to this day.

Brian Behnken

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book review

Bars and Barriers

Far from a plan for decarceration, ‘Barred’ is nonetheless a trenchant look at how the criminal system fails the innocent and guilty alike.

Abbe Smith

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Reflections

Inquest: Year One

A reflection from the founding editors of Inquest on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the publication.

Andrew Crespo, Premal Dharia & Cristian Farias

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Essay

A New Clarity

We need new words and understandings — not only for crime, freedom, and responsibility, but also for history and spacetime — because it gets us closer to an abolitionist world.

Katharine Blake

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Policy

Serial Injustices

Millions rallied behind Adnan Syed, whom the system gave a second look. Many others serving extreme sentences deserve a second look, too.

Cecilia Bruni & Destiny Fullwood-Singh

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Past, Present & Future of Mass Incarceration

Policy

Decarcerating from Within

Here’s how imprisoned writers can offer reasoned analysis on policies affecting the carceral state.

Tomas Keen & Atif Rafay

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advocacy

Face to Face

The Visiting Room offers an intimate glimpse into the stories of Louisianians serving life without parole.

Marcus Kondkar

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A closer look

Don’t Believe the Hype

Mass incarceration hasn’t ended in San Francisco, or anywhere else. To achieve that goal, governments would first have to devolve power to the communities it has harmed the most.

Sandra Susan Smith

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Beyond Reform

Reclaiming Safety

In our imaginations, we need to break the equation of policing and public safety.

Mariame Kaba & Andrea J. Ritchie

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A closer look

Growing Justice

Why understanding restorative and transformative justice on their own terms, and at their best and worst, will help us build more of both.

Cameron Rasmussen & Sonya Shah

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Institutions

Pretty and Punitive

For all its aesthetically pleasing attributes, Norway’s Halden Prison is still a prison for the men who must endure it.

Ashley Kilmer & Sami Abdel-Salam

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legal history

Litigious Zeal

One might say incarcerated Muslims sue religiously. And true enough, a deep belief in justice is what moves them to resist oppression this way.

SpearIt

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Media

Justice and Journalism

How we’re helping journalists report more deeply, more precisely, and more carefully on the law, on the criminal system, and towards justice.

Cherri Gregg & Sam Fulwood III

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democracy & power

Culture Wars and Criminalization

Absent a sustained politics of solidarity, culture wars will continue to erode civil rights while criminalizing, surveilling, and punishing those who claim them

Kay Whitlock

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campaigns

Meeting the Moment

As a lifelong public defender, I ran to become Santa Clara County’s next district attorney. I didn’t win, but our movement did.

Sajid Khan

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A closer look

The Evidence-Based Trap

Data-driven approaches to reform can reinforce aspects of a system that’s rotten to the core.

Erin Collins

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interventions

A Secret Stash of Power

Now more than ever, we need a clear understanding of the role of violence, trauma, and survivorship in our harm reduction practice.

Shira Hassan

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excerpt

The Problem With Innocence

Human sacrifice, and nothing else, is the central problem that organizes the carceral geographies of the prison-industrial complex.

Ruth Wilson Gilmore

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voices

Caring Collectively

Looking back on 25 years of abolitionist feminism and organizing in California.

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What we are reading

The Inquest bookshelf


Saving Our Own Lives: A Liberatory Practice of Harm Reduction

by Shira Hassan

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This Is My Jail: Local Politics and the Rise of Mass Incarceration

by Melanie D. Newport

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Detention Empire: Reagan’s War on Immigrants & the Seeds of Resistance

by Kristina Shull

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Series

INCARCERATION AND THE COURT

A collection of essays on the Supreme Court’s relationship to our crisis of mass incarceration.

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A closer look

And a Public Defender for All

We can celebrate the ascent of Ketanji Brown Jackson, while acknowledging that indigent defense remains woefully inadequate in this time of crisis.

Sara Mayeux

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public health

A World Without Roe

The loss of the fundamental right to reproductive freedom will only lead to more state surveillance and criminalization of pregnant people.

Purvaja Kavattur

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excerpt

Canaries in the Coalmine

We must not pretend that the countless people who are routinely targeted by police are isolated.

Sonia Sotomayor

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A closer look

No Compassion

Judge Michelle Childs’ many denials of compassionate release signal a carceralism that should have no place on the Supreme Court.

Matthew Ahn

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Institutions

No More Compromisers

The Supreme Court doesn’t need another Stephen Breyer. It needs someone who can openly confront the immorality of our criminal legal system.

Cristian Farias

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ELSEWHERE on INQUEST

In Their Words

Finishing Sentences

Caits Meissner

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interventions

The End of Public Defenders

Matthew Caldwell

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In Depth

Home Rule

Jessica Morton & Samara Spence

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Crimmigration

No End in Sight

Angel Argueta

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public health

Treating Unfreedom

Rachael Bedard & Zachary Rosner

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public health

Drug-Induced Panic

Leo Beletsky, Emma Rock & Sunyou Kang

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system actors

Busting the Myth

Brad Haywood

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In Depth

Follow the Science

Patricia Richman & Diane Goldstein

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