Criminal Justice Conversations with David Onek: Sunny Schwartz, "Dreams from the Monster Factory" | KALW

Criminal Justice Conversations with David Onek: Sunny Schwartz, "Dreams from the Monster Factory"

Mar 9, 2010

In Episode #5, Sunny Schwartz, author of "Dreams from the Monster Factory: A Tale of Prison, Redemption and One Woman's Fight to Restore Justice to All," discusses the award-winningResolve to Stop the Violence Project (RSVP) in San Francisco's jails, the principles of restorative justice, being "tough" on inmates by making them confront their issues, building partnerships between sworn and civilian staff in the jails, and more.

Schwartz Interview Highlights

Schwartz on Restorative Justice:

"Restorative justice recognizes that crime hurts everyone -- victim, offender, community -- and it creates an obligation to make things right...What we were doing before was rehabilitation... but there were missing links. Where was the voice of those who have been hurt? Where was the voice of the community who has been traumatized? Where was the accountability of those who hurt people?"

Schwartz on the RSVP Program Being "Tough on Crime":

"This whole concept of ‘tough on crime’ is such a fiction. I happen to think RSVP is the toughest on crime, because nobody wants to look themselves in the eye and really, really look at what they have done ... The traditional approach is coddling prisoners ... Who gets to sleep all day and watch TV and have their breakfast, lunch and dinner served to them? That's coddling."

Schwartz on Having the Mother of a Murder Victim Talk to Violent Offenders:

"Her first time on the floor she brought pictures of her murdered daughter and grandson and told the story, sentence by sentence, word by word, of what it was like. She talked to the men, looked each of them in the eye, shook their hand and said 'If I prevented one you from doing the same thing that was done to our family, I did my job.' ... There was not a dry eye in the room."


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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