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Special Project

Special Project
From the 12th Annual Shorty Awards

Incarceration, Inc. with Van Jones

Entered in Podcast


In his podcast, Van Jones, host of CNN’s Incarceration Inc., asks, "How did the land of the free transform into the home of the incarcerated?” In this four-part narrative series, Jones sets out to answer that question, joined by a range of voices, individuals on the front lines of mass incarceration reform.

Strategy and Execution

Incarceration Inc. explores what is behind the staggering number of individuals locked in the criminal justice system in America, and discusses solutions to what has become a national epidemic. Jones leads conversations that center on data-driven research, like the surprising number of adults on probation and parole, and that fact that the United States has the highest prison population rate in the world. Along with his guests, Jones also explores a multitude of solutions, both legislative and otherwise, for mass incarceration reform, including the First Step Act and restorative justice.

The series features roundtable conversations with guests like Inimai Chettiar, formerly of NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice, who talks about the unfortunate myth that mass incarceration helps decrease crime, as well as Jessica Jackson, a co-founder of #Cut50, who uses her personal experience to illuminate the systemic inequality in the criminal justice system. Dr. Brian Lovins shares his vision for redesigning probation and parole. While Topeka K. Sam, the founder of Ladies of Hope Ministries, and Shaka Senghor of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, offer their personal stories as a way of putting the human cost of mass incarceration into a broader context.


In a time of unprecedented bipartisan support for criminal justice reform, Incarceration Inc. helps our listeners understand the genesis of mass incarceration, and the movement to end it. The podcast confronts the idea that prison should be a place of punishment, proposing instead that it could be an opportunity for rehabilitation and transformation. Jones and his guests lay out a vision for a future that rolls back unnecessarily lengthy prison sentences, transforms systems of mass supervision like probation and parole, and reduces barriers for people with criminal records re-entering society. Ultimately, Incarceration Inc. arms our listeners to join the conversation, so that maybe one day, when it comes to locking folks up, the USA will not be number one.


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