Today I’m sharing with you an episode that focuses on prison and sentencing reform that I co-hosted for the Justice Counts podcast with thriller author/attorney Mark M. Bello.

Nicole D. Porter manages The Sentencing Project’s state and local advocacy efforts on sentencing reform, voting rights, and confronting racial disparities in the criminal legal system.

Named a “New Civil Rights Leader” by Essence Magazine for her work challenging mass incarceration, Porter joined the Sentencing Project in 2009 and her advocacy and findings have supported criminal legal reforms in such states as Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, California, Texas, and the District of Columbia.

Porter’s areas of expertise include research and grassroots support around challenging racial disparities, felony disenfranchisement, in addition to prison closures and prison reuse. She’s authored articles on the collateral impacts of justice involvement on communities of color and how current social movements are challenging mass incarceration.

The former director of the Texas ACLU’s Prison & Jail Accountability Project, Porter graduated from Johns Hopkins University and holds a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin.

Some episode highlights:

Porter calls for elimination of mandatory sentences for many crimes, including those involving drug offenses.

She calls for reallocation of resources, including the closing of many prisons, with a focus on rehabilitation.

She contends that many older inmates are no longer dangerous, and thus, should be released.

She believes that because thousands of inmates that were subjected to mandatory sentences received unfairly harsh sentences, and because deplorable conditions in many prisons violate inmates' rights, that "reparations" are justified. Those payments would be used for community programs to prevent crime from occurring.

Take a listen.

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