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Premal Dharia and Maria Hawilo / Dismantling Mass Incarceration

July 22 @ 6:00 pm

City Lights and Farrar Straus Giroux celebrate the publication of

Dismantling Mass Incarceration: A Handbook for Change

Edited by Premal Dharia, James Forman Jr., and Maria Hawilo

Published by FSG Originals

Premal Dharia and Maria Hawilo in conversation. Moderated by Josie Duffy Rice

A vital reader on ending mass incarceration featuring advocates, experts, and formerly incarcerated people.

In recent years, a searching national conversation has called attention to the social and racial injustices that define America’s criminal system. But despite growing movements for change, the vast machinery of the carceral state remains very much intact. How can its damage and depredations be undone?

In this pathbreaking reader, three of the nation’s leading advocates—Premal Dharia, James Forman Jr., and Maria Hawilo—provide us with tools to move from despair and critique to hope and action. Dismantling Mass Incarceration surveys various approaches to confronting the carceral state, exploring bold but practical interventions involving police, prosecutors, public defenders, judges, prisons, and even life after prison. Rather than prescribing solutions, the book offers a forum for discussions—and disagreements—about how to best confront the harms of mass incarceration. The contributors range from noted figures such as Angela Y. Davis, Clint Smith, and Larry Krasner to local organizers, advocates, scholars, lawyers, and judges, as well as people who have been incarcerated. The result is an invaluable guide for anyone who wishes to understand mass incarceration—and hasten its end.

Premal Dharia is the executive director of the Institute to End Mass Incarceration at Harvard Law School and is coeditor in chief of Inquest. She has written for The Washington Post, CNN, Slate and other publications.

Maria Hawilo is Distinguished Professor in Residence at Loyola University where she studies mass incarceration. She has served as a supervising attorney for the District of Columbia’s Public Defender Service representing individuals charged with felony criminal offenses. She was a member of the Forensic Practice Group, a committee focused on the use of forensic science in the courtroom. Hawilo served as a law clerk for the Honorable David W. McKean, U.S District Court, Western District of Michigan.

Josie Duffy Rice is a journalist, writer, law school graduate, and podcast host whose work is primarily focused on prosecutors, prisons, and other criminal justice issues. She is the host of the podcasts UnReformed and Justice in America and the co-host of the podcast What a Day.

What has been said about Dismantling Mass Incarceration: A Handbook for Change

“This extraordinary collection by our nation’s most brilliant thinkers on punishment, policing and prisons is exactly the blueprint for making a just society that we have all been waiting for and desperately need.” —Heather Ann Thompson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Blood in the Water

“You won’t find a better collection of diverse perspectives regarding how to respond to the crisis of mass incarceration—ranging from reform to abolition—than what’s offered here.” —Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

“Criticizing the criminal justice system is easy; prescribing how to reform it in realistic and useable ways is the real challenge. This book faces that challenge head-on. It’s a must-read for reformers, scholars, and everyone who cares about fixing one of the most pernicious problems in America today.” —David Cole, National Legal Director of the ACLU and author of No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Criminal Justice System

“A glimpse behind the legal curtain, revealing how each role in our justice system currently contributes to the overincarceration of the most vulnerable and marginalized—and what we must do to change.” —Keith Ellison, attorney general of Minnesota

“To learn just how devastating the vast criminalization and warehousing of our citizenry behind bars has been for our country has been vitally important. But finally to end this crisis is now the far greater imperative. This extraordinary collection by our nation’s most brilliant thinkers on punishment, policing and prisons is exactly the blueprint for making a just society that we have all been waiting for and desperately need.” —Heather Ann Thompson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy

“The injustices of mass incarceration have harshly affected my family for generations. I myself spent nearly thirty years cycling through the system. Today, as a state representative and lawyer, I devote my passion and expertise to reforming the criminal legal system. Dismantling Mass Incarceration is a brilliantly written tool for our national movement, and I am so thankful for the authors’ gift to all of us.” —Tarra Simmons, member of the Washington House of Representatives from the 23rd District

Made possible by the support from the City Lights Foundation.