Manage episode 311631051 series 94072
As a kid, Jonathan was good at soccer and making friends. But by the age of eighteen, he was a drug dealer facing his first serious conviction. For his third conviction, although the charges were for nonviolent offenses, he received a twenty-one-year prison sentence. In 2019, after serving seventeen years, he was released under the First Step Act, a bipartisan prison-reform bill that has helped to reduce the sentencing disparity between crack and powdered cocaine for some federal prisoners. In total, Jonathan has spent twenty-five years behind bars. Now, as a middle-aged former felon, he faces a world full of hazards and struggles with the unintended consequences of a long sentence. (Jonathan’s real name has been withheld, in order to protect his family’s privacy.)
Also, David Remnick speaks with Kai Wright, the host of WNYC’s “The United States of Anxiety,” about long prison sentences and how the goal of incarceration has shifted from “correction” to warehousing people for as long as possible.
This podcast was originally released on January 17, 2020.