Criminal Justice

Transcript: J. Edgar Hoover Tried to Destroy the Left — and Liberals Enabled Him

01 Jan 2024
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J. Edgar Hoover’s America w/ Beverly Gage

06 Nov 2023
Featuring Beverly Gage on her masterful biography G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century. Guest hosted by Micah Uetricht.

Racism, Class, and the Opioid Crisis

19 Mar 2023
Featuring Helena Hansen, Jules Netherland, and David Herzberg on how American capitalism and its illusions of whiteness both created the opioid crisis and shaped the response to it. We are discussing their book Whiteout: How...

The NAACP's Anti-Lynching Struggle with Megan Ming Francis

22 Nov 2020
Dan interviews political scientist Megan Ming Francis about the NAACP’s struggle against racist violence in the teens and 20s and how it remade the criminal justice system and the civil rights movement alike.

Unforgetting with Roberto Lovato

16 Oct 2020
Roberto Lovato on Unforgetting: A Memoir of Family, Migration, Gangs, and Revolution in the Americas. Growing up Salvadoran-American in The Mission, fighting with the FMLN in El Salvador, making sense of MS-13, weaving back together...

Transcript: Unforgetting with Roberto Lovato

16 Oct 2020
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SCOTUS, Politics, and the Law

09 Oct 2020
Dan interviews legal scholars Aziz Rana and Amna Akbar, and Movement for Black Lives lawyer Marbre Stahly-Butts, on SCOTUS, liberal RBG and court veneration, and other big questions on the law and politics facing the...

Child Safety Sex Panics with Paul Renfro

19 Sep 2020
Dan interviews historian Paul Renfro on his book Stranger Danger: Family Values, Childhood, and the American Carceral State.

Cops and Counterinsurgency with Stuart Schrader

24 Jul 2020
Our police system is a product of Cold War US imperialism too. Dan interviews Stuart Schrader on Badges Without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing.

Nativist Carceral State: Aziz Rana interviews Dan Denvir

04 Jul 2020
Aziz Rana interviews Dan Denvir on how policing and mass incarceration became core features of the war on immigrants and on his book All-American Nativism: How the Bipartisan War on Immigrants Explains Politics as We...

Defund Police Organizers Forum

20 Jun 2020
A Dig special. Zoom forum Dan hosted with leading defund police organizers from around the country. For more info:

Jeff Sessions' Brutal Legacy

25 Nov 2018
Guns in general, and American gun culture in particular, have created a horrific bloodbath. But much of the liberal gun control movement has, in concert with the NRA and Republican Right, worked to make the...


23 Sep 2018
The United States today exceeds at perpetually waging wars that it are destined to fail to meet their purported objectives. The War on Terror is one such war. The War on Drugs is another. In...

Criminal Injustice with Josie Duffy Rice

25 Aug 2018
Josie Duffy Rice on Justice in America, her new podcast from The Appeal that she co-hosts with with Clint Smith, media coverage of criminal justice, carceral feminism and domestic violence, and the disturbing liberal affection...

Resisting the School-to-Prison Pipeline

27 May 2018
The steady pace of school massacres has revived calls to put more cops in school. And so atrocities committed by white students are exploited to make schools more like prisons, and ensure that the former...

Dorothy Roberts: Policing Poor Black Families

12 May 2018
Recent cases of horrific child abuse have elicited widespread media attention. What the media coverage often misses is what these incidents reveal about a two-tiered child protection system that systemically surveils, punishes and destroys poor...

Bernie, Krasner, Keeanga and Premal

05 May 2018
Dan just moderated a discussion in Philadelphia with Senator Sanders, along with Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, scholar and frequent Dig guest Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and veteran defense lawyer and advocate Premal Dharia. Bernie came to...

Comey Liberal Cop Fetish

27 Apr 2018
James Comey is liberal America’s favorite cop and now, as a result, a bestselling author as well. Patrick Blanchfield returns to talk about his Baffler review of Comey’s new book. It’s awful, of course. But...

Real Sanctuary Means Ending Mass Policing with Kade Crockford

25 Mar 2018
Perhaps nothing has more defined the monstrosity of Donald Trump than his racist demonization and targeting of immigrants from Mexico, Muslim-majority countries and those nations he deems to be “shitholes” or, according to another account,...

Baltimore’s Crisis Continues with Lester Spence

03 Feb 2018
The uprising following the police killing of Freddie Gray drew national media attention to Baltimore and the abusive law enforcement agents that discipline and control those most exploited and excluded by contemporary American capitalism. As...

The Origins of the Opioid Crisis with Leo Beletsky

28 Nov 2017
The drug war is a cause of, not solution to, the overdose crisis. Law and public health scholar @LeoBeletsky explains the origins of the opioid overdose crisis and how drug prohibition, policing, interdiction and incarceration...

Bonus: Alex Vitale v. Heather MacDonald

27 Nov 2017
We’ve got a bonus episode for you today, which is audio from a debate between Alex Vitale—a recent guest on this show, sociologist and author of The End of Policing—and Heather Mac Donald, one of...

A History of Human Caging with Kelly Lytle Hernández

14 Nov 2017
Historian Kelly Lytle Hernández tells the story of human caging in Los Angeles, from the Spanish Conquest to the mid-twentieth century, in her new book. It’s a story of indigenous exploitation and elimination, immigrant detention...

Don't Criminalize Sex Work with Melissa Gira Grant

10 Nov 2017
Journalist @melissagira eviscerates a newspaper investigation that conflates sex work with trafficking. She examines how reporters unwittingly fall into a savior complex, which ends up criminalizing workers in the name of defending women’s dignity. Thanks...

Policing for the Market with Brenden Beck

03 Nov 2017
Why have the size of American police departments grown so dramatically in recent decades, even as crime rates have fallen? One factor may have been the growing centrality of real estate for urban economies, according...

Bonus: Ending the War on Drug Dealers

23 Oct 2017
Dan was on a panel last week on ending the war on drug dealers at the Drug Policy Alliance conference in Atlanta. The panel was moderated by asha bandele and included Daryl Atkinson, Constanza Sánchez...

We must end policing as we know it with Alex Vitale

17 Oct 2017
In his new book The End of Policing Brooklyn College sociologist @avitale makes the case that technocratic reforms won’t fix American policing. In reality, we can only fix policing by ending the carceral state and...

Beware Carceral Gun Control

06 Oct 2017
Prevailing debate obscures the fact that we already have a form of gun control in the United States. As legal scholar Ben Levin explains, the problem is that it’s a form of gun control that...

Bonus Episode: Larry Krasner's Full Interview

04 Oct 2017
Here’s Dan’s full interview with civil rights attorney and Democratic nominee for Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. You heard some of it yesterdayon the first in a four-part series on mass incarceration that we are...

Part One: The Story Behind America's Mass Incarceration Experiment

03 Oct 2017
In the late 1960s, criminologists like Todd Clear predicted America would soon start closing its prisons. They couldn’t have been more wrong. Interviews with Clear, formerly incarcerated poet and legal scholar Dwayne Betts, and civil...

An Olympic-Size Swindle in LA with Molly Lambert and Jules Boykoff

15 Sep 2017
The so-called Olympic spirit doesn’t match the reality of a highly-corporatized Games that often leaves taxpayers picking up the tab, engenders abusive policing and justifies the remaking of cities for the rich at the expense...

James Forman Jr.: Locking Up Our Own

20 Jun 2017
Mass incarceration controls poor people and populations that have been excluded from the labor market. Politically, tough-on-crime rhetoric has for decades been a tool for politicians to appeal to white voters’ racism. But what’s less...

Rick Lines: The drug war is winding down and heating up

23 May 2017
The drug war is winding down and heating up all at the same time. States are legalizing recreational weed while prosecutors around the country are charging dealers, including small-time ones, with murder when their drugs...

Mass incarceration is everywhere

18 Apr 2017
Prisons don’t just keep inmates in; they keep the public out. Even at a moment when mass incarceration is under unprecedented criticism it is quite hard for people on the outside to empathize with people...

Marie Gottschalk: Mass incarceration and Trump's carceral state

28 Feb 2017
Mass incarceration should be central to any analysis of American political economy. It’s also a moral monstrosity. But before The New Jim Crow and anti-mass incarceration activists across the country loudly insisted this was the...

Pilot: Ending the drug war means legalizing drugs

24 Sep 2015
This was the pilot episode for The Dig, a podcast exploring the politics of American class warfare. This month features a discussion about ending the drug war with Sharda Sekaran of the Drug Policy Alliance...