Stay Tuned: Behind Barrs (with Steve Martin, prison reformer)

Show Notes

Steve Martin is a leading prison reform advocate who served as the court-appointed monitor of Rikers Island prison complex in New York. He’s also the co-author of “Texas Prisons: The Walls Came Tumbling Down.”


 –        Attorney General Bill Barr’s letter summarizing Mueller’s principal conclusions

–        SDNY’s criminal complaint filed against Michael Avenatti


The other Steve Martin

–        Steve Martin, the actor

–        Steve Martin’s iconic arrow hat

Rikers Island

–        An article from the NYT, “What is Rikers Island?”

–        An article from the New Yorker on the plan to close Rikers

SDNY & Rikers

–        SDNY’s 2014 report on the excessive use of force against adolescent inmates housed at Rikers Island

–        An article from the NYT on SDNY’s decision to join a lawsuit against New York City over the conditions at Rikers

–        The consent decree Nunez v. City of New York

–        An article in the WSJ reporting Steve Martin’s appointment, plus a list of his monitor reports

The Stanford Prison Experiment

–        Background on the Stanford Prison Experiment

Death penalty

–        Furman v. Georgia, 1972

–        A 1997 article from Mother Jones on conditions at Texas death row prisons, including the Work Capable Program

Solitary confinement

–        An article from the NYT detailing a report that compares solitary confinement policies in Texas to torture, plus the report


–        David Garland, “Punishment and Modern Society: A Study in Social Theory

–        Mikhail Khodorkovsky, “My Fellow Prisoners

–        Shane Bauer, “American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey Into the Business of Punishment” and a report from NPR about the book

–        Gresham Skyes, “The Society of Captives: A Study of a Maximum Security Prison

First Step Act

–        The First Step Act, and an article from Vox on the law

–        An article from the ACLU on women’s health in prisons, and the proposed reforms through the First Step Act

Corrections Officers

–        A California study that found correctional officers at high risk of PTSD

Violence and mortality in jails

–        A 2016 study by NYC comptroller that found violence is increasing in city jails, despite a shrinking population

–        Bureau of Justice Statistics 2016 report on Mortality in Local Jails, 2000-2014.

Private prisons

–        2018 report from The Sentencing Project on private prisons

Sentencing disparities

–        The Sentencing Project on racial disparity in the criminal justice system, plus a 2017 report from the United States Sentencing Commission on demographic differences in sentencing


–        2018 update from Bureau of Justice Statistics on recidivism rates