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As incarceration rates drop, what will it take to reform the system?

Photo via Wikimedia Commons by user Ammodramus


How far have we come in reforming criminal justice, and what will it take to change the system? With 2.2 million people behind bars, the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Still, that number is at a two-decade low, according to a recent Bureau of Justice Statistics report.

District attorneys, activists, and others are pushing for reforms. They want to stop criminalizing the poor, reduce the burden of mass incarceration, and address racial disparities. California is working on bail reform, and Philadelphia’s new DA Larry Krasner is working to end mass incarceration. He’s sued police officers 75 times. What’s next in criminal justice reform?


Adam Foss, former assistant district attorney in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in Boston, MA, and founder of Prosecutor Impact, a nonprofit dedicated to improving community safety by better educating prosecutors

Lt. Diane Goldstein, formerly with the Redondo Beach Police Department, and executive board member at the Law Enforcement Action Partnership

Web Resources:

LA Times: Legislation to overhaul bail reform in California hits a hurdle in Assembly

Slate: Philadelphia’s New Top Prosecutor Is Rolling Out Wild, Unprecedented Criminal Justice Reforms

The Marshall Project: California Voters Reject Prosecutor 'Reformers'

Philadelphia Inquirer: Why is mass incarceration moving to the suburbs?


Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.