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How to Keep Closing Prisons in a Trump Era

Despite the rhetoric from the president and the Justice Department, the movement to resist mass incarceration has a way forward.  
Luis Padilla with his daughter, Isabella, near their home in New York. At 16, Padilla was arrested and sent to Rikers Island.
Luis Padilla with his daughter, Isabella, near their home in New York. At 16, Padilla was arrested and sent to Rikers Island. Seth Wenig/AP

As he left the courthouse on his final day serving as head of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago, Zachary Fardon handed reporters an open letter. He was one of 46 U.S. Attorneys sacked by President Donald Trump, in part because he didn’t fit within the White House’s (and U.S. Justice Department’s) new criminal justice scheme. In the five-page document, he offered his prescription for saving the youth of Chicago, now perhaps the most embattled city in the United States.

This is precisely the kind of alternative to incarceration that has been pushed for decades by those working to stop the criminalization of black and brown kids. And Fardon’s advocacy of it probably helped get him fired.