Danielle Sered and Nikkita Oliver: Violence, Incarceration, and a Road to Repair

Host Organization: Town Hall Seattle


Although over half the people incarcerated in America today have committed violent offenses, the focus of reformers has been almost entirely on nonviolent and drug offenses. Danielle Sered takes aim at issues of mass incarceration, insisting that we cannot just critique violence and mass incarceration, but must build practical, moral solutions to displace them. She joins us for a livestream, drawing from her book Until We Reckon to grapple with the question of restorative approaches to violent crime in conversation with No New Youth Jail organizer Nikkita Oliver.

Together Sered and Oliver explore whether the needs of survivors of violent crime are better met by asking people who commit violence to accept responsibility for their actions and make amends in ways that are meaningful to those they have hurt—none of which happens in the context of a criminal trial or a prison sentence. Sered argues that a reckoning is owed not only on the part of those who have committed violence, but also by our nation’s overreliance on incarceration to produce safety—at great cost to communities, survivors, racial equity, and the very fabric of our democracy. Join Sered and Oliver as they ask us to fundamentally reconsider the purposes of incarceration.

Danielle Sered leads the award-winning Brooklyn-based Common Justice, which develops and advances solutions to violence that meet the needs of those harmed and advance racial equity without relying on incarceration. Sered also served as the deputy director of the Vera Institute of Justice’s Adolescent Reentry Initiative, a program for young men returning from incarceration on Rikers Island.

Nikkita Oliver is a Seattle-based creative, community organizer, abolitionist, educator, and attorney working at the intersections of arts, law, education, and community organizing. Her writing has been published in the South Seattle Emerald, Crosscut, The Seattle TImes, and others. Oliver organizes with No New Youth Jail and the Seattle Peoples Party.

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