Bryan Stevenson on the future of criminal justice

April 19, 2023

What if, instead of punishing people who made mistakes, we helped them? Bryan Stevenson, founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, has spent his career working toward a more equitable and restorative criminal justice system. He joins Reid and Aria this week to discuss the root causes of mass incarceration in America and how we can build safe communities without excessive policing and sentencing. Bryan responds to GPT-4 stories that imagine how new technologies could prevent wrongful convictions and contribute to a better criminal justice system—but are the questions we ask still stuck in carceral logic?  Read the AI-generated stories for this episode here. Read the transcript of this episode here.  For more info on the podcast and transcripts of all of the episodes, visit www.possible.fm/podcast. Topics: 5:37 - Hellos and intros 6:07 - Defining the criminal justice system and how it has evolved 11:51 - Where our approach to incarceration has started to shift 14:39 - GPT-4’s story about addressing minor crimes 23:45 - GPT-4’s story about reconciling wrongful convictions 28:28 - Is a world without prisons possible? 36:36 - The first steps towards criminal justice reform 39:33 - Progress afoot at the local level  42:36 - Reformulating sentencing and rethinking drug policy  46:15 - Rapidfire questions 54:50 - Debrief with Reid and Aria Possible is a new podcast that sketches out the brightest version of the future—and what it will take to get there. Most of all, it asks: what if, in the future, everything breaks humanity's way? Hosted by Reid Hoffman and Aria Finger, each episode features an interview with a visionary from a different field: climate science, media, criminal justice, and more. The conversation also features another kind of guest: GPT-4, OpenAI’s latest and most powerful language model to date. Each episode has a companion story, generated by GPT-4, which will serve as a jumping-off point for a hopeful, speculative discussion about what humanity could possibly get right if we leverage technology—and our collective effort—effectively. Possible is produced by Wonder Media Network and hosted by Reid Hoffman and Aria Finger. Our showrunner is Shaun Young. Possible is produced by Edie Allard and Sara Schleede. Jenny Kaplan is our Executive Producer and Editor. Special thanks to Caitlin McCaskey, Taylor Washington, Surya Yalamanchili, Saida Sapieva, Ian Alas, Greg Beato, and Ben Relles.

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