Prison reform has become a priority in America’s movements for social and racial justice. Is reform also the key to reducing violence in society? Danielle Sered started and leads Common Justice, America’s only “alternative to prison” program for people charged in the adult criminal courts with violent offenses like assault, robbery, and even attempted murder. We spoke with Danielle about the facts and fictions of violence and incarceration in America today.
Society wants safety. We know that meaningful accountability—not punishment—creates safety. Good solutions to violence will always be survivor-centered. If you actually ask survivors of crime what they want, they almost always prefer to see the person who hurt them take responsibility and change rather than just be punished. It’s not just compassion, it’s pragmatism. They know incarceration doesn’t work, they see the toll in their neighborhoods and lives. So if they are offered an alternative that might work they take it.