The Backchannel
The Backchannel
Apr 1, 2019
Extremely Offline: Jonathan Blanks and Rafael Mangual on Criminal Justice Reform
Play • 1 hr 14 min

When President Trump signed into law the First STEP Act, a wide-ranging federal prison reform bill passed this past December, he marveled at the wide bipartisan vote that got it across the finish line. Indeed, everybody from the Koch Brothers to former Obama adviser Van Jones helped build the wide bipartisan coalition that passed the legislation.

But while most of America now agrees on some form of criminal justice reform, there are still major divisions. On issues like how we tackle violent crime to if and how we should end the drug war, local and federal politicians continue to sharply disagree.

Joining us for this episode are two guests, both of whom are the sons of police officers. But that's where their similarities end. 

Jonathan Blanks of the Cato institute is an ardent critic of policing and the prison system as it is constituted today, arguing that American society often turns to incarceration and punishment as a substitute for more comprehensive solutions that tackle the root causes of crime.

Rafael Mangual of the Manhattan Institute argues that while some reforms may be needed, we shouldn't underestimate the prevalence of violent crime in America and the need for tough policing to keep communities safe.

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