After 40 years of waging a failed war on crime in poor communities, conservative and progressive policy makers finally are being compelled to release the pressure valve and find ways to reform our troubled criminal justice system. The increasingly prevailing solution involves risk-assessment tools that often quantify the experience of incarcerated people to determine the extent to which they pose a public safety threat. But can the framework of risk measure the redemptive power of a second chance? And to what degree are the factors that determine “risk” situational - access to jobs, housing and community support, for example - and therefore potentially beset with race and class biases?
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