I was speaking to a young woman today whose younger brother is incarcerated. She is very sad because she believes that if she had been better able to protect him from being physically abused by her mother’s boyfriend, he would never have gotten involved in drug sales and drug-related violence. Speaking with her only reinforced my skepticism about our criminal justice system, a system that fails to address the root causes of violence, drug abuse, burglary, and theft, and instead remains focused on punishment alone. My investment in this issue is partially selfish. I live in Oakland, California, and the recidivism rate for the formerly incarcerated is not doing the city any favors; and the impact is greatest our most vulnerable neighborhoods.