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On the final day of 2014, In These Times published George Lavender‘s thought-provoking and straightforward Q&A with some of the leading public voices on criminal justice reform.

Lavender asked for their “worst” and “best” moments in criminal justice in 2014, as well as inquiring what we should look out for in 2015. A good think piece.

Here’s my pick of the answers. From author Dan Berger on his “worst” moment:

“It is hard to pick an exact [worst 2014 criminal justice] moment; there are many contenders. But the combination of intransigence and self-congratulation displayed by various state officials who sustain mass incarceration and police violence. The conservative case for prison reform has attracted a lot of money and attention, and then gone on to claim victories for shrinking prison population through flawed “justice reinvestment” processes—the so-called Texas Miracle. But in fact, their politics of social austerity and expanded police power do not bring us any closer to ending mass incarceration; if anything, they have expanded the carceral state in the realms of policing and surveillance. Meanwhile, prison populations have not declined this year the way they did in year’s past; in some places they increased, while Guantanamo remains open and torture remains legal.”

— Dan Berger.

Follow Dan Berger and George Lavender on Twitter.

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