News & Updates

ReFramingJustice Podcast Provides a New Platform for Systemic Criminal Punishment Reform

Press Contact: Caroline Isaacs
Phone: 520.256.4146


Tucson, Arizona – August 14, 2018 – Inspired by the success of podcasts like Ear Hustle and Justice in America, the American Friends Service Committee-Arizona (AFSC-AZ) has launched the ReFramingJustice podcast, a new platform for formerly incarcerated and convicted people to effect change within the criminal punishment system in Arizona and beyond.

Hosted by former Phoenix New Times and Arizona Republic reporter Joe Watson, the ReFramingJustice podcast pairs those who have been through the system with reform advocates from across the country who discuss topics including mandatory minimums, harsh drug laws, prosecutorial reform, re-entry services, and alternatives to incarceration.

“There are so many smart people in America working to end mass incarceration,” Watson said. “But the voices that really need to be heard are those of the formerly incarcerated, convicted and their loved ones. We’re the real experts. Our voices must be elevated to change the narrative on the so-called justice system and achieve tangible reform.”

The first two episodes are already available via iTunes and Podbean, and feature interviews with:

  • Grace Gámez, who founded AFSC-AZ’s ReFramingJustice multimedia storytelling project shortly after her conviction history derailed her career in education;
  • Jesse Merriman, a formerly incarcerated trans woman and activist;
  • Brandon Sturdivant, the Oakland, Calif.-based lead organizer of the Mass Liberation Project;
  • and Joel Feinman, a Tucson native considering a second run in 2020 as a “reformist” candidate for Pima County Attorney.

Future episodes, premiering every two weeks, will include policy experts from Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), Right On Crime, and AFSC-AZ’s Rebecca Fealk, who co-authored our groundbreaking report, Drug Sentencing in Arizona: A Prescription for Failure. Formerly incarcerated and directly-impacted guests include attorney and critically-acclaimed poet and author Reginald Dwayne Betts, and Michael & Zach Perrino, a father and his son who were estranged by heroin addiction and incarceration.

The ReFramingJustice podcast also features original music from Tucson’s Ojalá Systems, whose contributing artists all have loved ones either incarcerated and/or deported. The ReFramingJustice podcast logo and graphics are designed by Clyde Hardin, a Tucson-based tattoo artist who is formerly incarcerated. And Watson, the ReFramingJustice podcast host and producer, was also incarcerated for more than 10 years.

“AFSC-AZ prioritizes not just the inclusion of people who are formerly incarcerated and convicted, but truly believes those directly-impacted by the system must direct the conversation and lead the effort to end mass incarceration,” Watson said.


American Friends Service Committee-Arizona (AFSC-AZ) works to reduce the size and scope of the criminal punishment system in Arizona using research and documentation, advocacy, and policy reform to advance sentencing reform, halt prison expansion and improve conditions of confinement.

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