Although over half the people incarcerated in America today have committed violent offenses, the focus of reformers has been almost entirely on nonviolent and drug offenses. Danielle Sered takes aim at issues of mass incarceration, insisting that we cannot just critique violence and mass incarceration, but must build practical, moral solutions to displace them. She joins us for a livestream, drawing from her book Until We Reckon to grapple with the question of restorative approaches to violent crime in conversation with local grassroots community organizer and Common Justice Executive Director Nikkita Oliver.
Sered and Oliver explore whether the needs of survivors of violent crime are better met by asking people who commit violence to accept responsibility for their actions and making amends in ways that are meaningful to those they have hurt—none of which currently happens in the context of a criminal trial or a prison sentence. Sered argues that a reckoning is owed not only on the part of those who have committed violence, but also by our nation’s overreliance on incarceration to produce the illusion of safety—at great cost to communities, survivors, racial equity, and the very fabric of our democracy. Together they illuminate how ending mass incarceration and increasing public safety is not just a local issue but is also very relevant to the Seattle-King County region. Join them as they ask us to fundamentally reconsider our relationship to and the purposes of incarceration.
Danielle Sered envisioned and directs Common Justice, which develops and advances practical and groundbreaking solutions to violence that advance racial equity, meet the needs of those harmed, and do not rely on incarceration. Before planning the launch of Common Justice, Sered served as the deputy director of the Vera Institute of Justice’s Adolescent Reentry Initiative, a program for young men returning from incarceration on Rikers Island. She the author of The Other Side of Harm: Addressing Disparities in our Responses to Violence, of Accounting for Violence: How to Increase Safety and Break Our Failed Reliance on Mass Incarceration, and the book Until We Reckon: Violence, Mass Incarceration, and a Road to Repair.
Nikkita Oliver (they/them) is a Seattle-based creative, community organizer, abolitionist, educator, and attorney. They are the executive director of Creative Justice, an arts-based alternative to incarceration and a healing engaged youth-led community-based program. Oliver organizes with No New Youth Jail, Decriminalize Seattle, Covid-19 Mutual Aid Seattle, and the Seattle People’s Party. They have been featured on the Breakfast Club, KUOW’s The Week in Review, and The Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert, and their work has been seen on the South Seattle Emerald, Crosscut, the Establishment, and more.
Presented by Common Justice and Town Hall Seattle.