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Criminal Justice Conversations with David Onek: Benjamin Jealous, President and CEO, NAACP

Benjamin Todd Jealous.jpeg
Benjamin Jealous

In Episode #17, Benjamin Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP, discusses the NAACP's new "Smart and Safe" criminal justice initiative, his support for the National Criminal Justice Act, the consequences of the nation's incarceration policies, the importance of parents taking responsibility for truancy, and more.

Jealous Interview Highlights

Jealous on the Consequences of the Nation’s Incarceration Policies:

“The reality is that our country, as great as it is, has worked itself into this situation where we have 5% of the world’s people, and 25% of the world’s prisoners. It’s breaking the spirit of communities across this country, and it’s breaking the bank of pretty much every state.”

Jealous on Parents Taking Responsibility for Truancy:

“Parents really need to look at their child and not laugh and say, ‘Oh, Johnny’s just like me. He don’t go to school most days.’ Because the stakes now are much higher. And when they see a child who’s not going to school, they may as well envision the casket that’s going to carry them to the grave or the handcuffs and the leg cuffs that they’re going to be wearing as they go off to prison. We have to be fierce in defending the future of our children, and that starts with setting high standards for ourselves as parents, as aunties, as uncles, as grandparents.”

Jealous on San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris’ Leadership:

“As far as I’m concerned, [Kamala Harris] is like the Mother Mary of smart criminal justice policy. There’s a lot of us who have been out there talking, but she put it all together and put it in place as a law enforcement leader and marketed it to her peers, and then turned around and marketed it to the public. And she’s been just a transformative force on all levels, and really increasing the level of intelligence in the criminal justice conversation.”


The Criminal Justice Conversations Podcast with David Onek features in-depth, thirty-minute interviews with a wide range of criminal justice leaders: law enforcement officials, policymakers, advocates, service providers, academics and others.

The Podcast gets behind the sound bites that far too often dominate the public dialogue about criminal justice, to have detailed, nuanced conversations about criminal justice policy.

Podcast host David Onek is a Senior Fellow at Berkeley Law School and a former Commissioner on the San Francisco Police Commission.

You can find more information on the Criminal Justice Conversations Podcast and listen to all past episodes on the Podcast web site.

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