SCSJ Criminal Justice Reform attorney Daryl Atkinson is a steering committee member of the Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People’s Movement (FICPM). In the following radio piece from PRX, Daryl and his colleagues speak truth to power on issues relating to ending mass incarceration in the United States.
A half-century since the apex of the Civil Rights Movement, the quest for racial and economic justice continues unabated in the United States. Arguably the most powerful expression of that struggle today is the growing movement to end the racialized system of mass incarceration. At the forefront of leadership in the struggle to dismantle the US prison-industrial complex, and to alleviate its negative consequences, stands the Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People’s Movement (FICPM). The FICPM is a nationwide coalition of formerly incarcerated men and women who are holding forth a radical vision for justice and transformation, and who are putting that vision to work in towns and cities across the nation. This 29-minute radio documentary highlights the voices of nine members of the FICPM steering committee, men and women who have experienced the workings of the US criminal justice system from the inside out, and who have dedicated themselves to the work of building a new and better future, not only for presently and formerly incarcerated people, but for the entire nation. The show includes a description of the FICPM’s critical analysis, closely mirroring the arguments of Michelle Alexander (author of The New Jim Crow), and it features candid dialogue about race and racism in the contemporary US. Also highlighted are the 14 points of the FICPM’s national platform, a blueprint for nationwide grassroots community organizing designed to bring about major structural transformation in the US criminal justice system, and in the US culture itself.
Just as the movement for justice and equality drew vision and leadership from key organizations during the 1950s and 60s, such as Dr. Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, today the movement to end mass incarceration finds the Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People’s Movement at the vanguard of the struggle. These are men and women of legacy re-enunciating a powerful message of freedom and equality during this newest phase of the continuing struggle to bring the United States’ practices into alignment with its core principles.
“The Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People’s Movement: The Struggle for Freedom and Transformation Continues” is the newest installment of the radio documentary series titled Bringing Down the New Jim Crow. Inspired by Michelle Alexander’s groundbreaking book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, this series explores the intersection of the drug war, mass incarceration, and race in the contemporary U.S. It is produced by Chris Moore-Backman and features the music of Stray Theories.