Three months ago, Kai Wright joined The New Yorker Radio Hour's David Remnick, for a special episode about the effects of mass incarceration and the movement to end it. And now, as the coronavirus pandemic puts inmates in acute and disproportionate danger, that effort gains new traction. Wright and Remnick reconvene to examine the COVID-19 crisis in prison and its political effects.
Kai Wright interviews Udi Ofer, the head of the A.C.L.U.’s Justice Division, who notes that “the communities that the C.D.C. has told us are most vulnerable to COVID-19 are exactly the communities that are housed in our nation’s jails and prisons,” including a disproportionately older population among inmates. And David Remnick speaks with Phil Murphy, the governor of New Jersey, who has signed an executive order to release certain at-risk inmates from states prisons — the sort of measure that would once have been deeply unpopular and risky.