Exclusive First Listen: 70 Million, a New Podcast about Justice Reform Hear the trailer for this 10-part open-source series that looks at how residents are taking action locally.

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More than likely, you know someone with a criminal record. You may have a record yourself.

So, on August 27, 70 Million will premiere after a team of brilliant and dedicated reporters and producers spent the last eight months traveling the country to collect stories about regular folks becoming catalysts for jail and justice reform in their hometowns. A quick shout out to the dream team, so far: Jen Chien, Luis Gil, Mitzi Miller, Kate Krosschell, Oluwakemi Aladesuyi, Amy Alexander, Jesse Alejandro Cottrell, Ruxandra Guidi, Heidi Shin, Maria Murriel, Nissa Rhee, Ryan Katz, Liza Veale, Nadege Green, and Daniel Rivero.

Today, I am so happy that The Vera Institute of Justice, whose work I have long admired and often referenced in my own reporting, is doing us the honor of unveiling our podcast trailer to its readers and supporters. It has been a singular goal of ours to create a podcast that contributes to the conversation and spurs people to act around the myriad and often intractable consequences of injustice.

For the inaugural season of 70 Million, we focused on jails because they are the revolving door into our country’s overlapping systems of incarceration. Just over 3,300 jails process about 12 million admissions every year. And some 18,000 police agencies funnel people into these warehousing systems that are outmoded, criminally ineffective, and dangerous. The result of over half a century of misguided tough-on-crime laws, racialized sentencing, and a national dragnet on the poor is that today 70 million American adults have a criminal record.

More than likely, you know someone with a criminal record. You may have a record yourself. And the lasting effects of such a mark have serious consequences for returning citizens, their families, and communities. It’s harder to get a job. (Tens of thousands of jobs that require licensing automatically disqualify people with records.) It’s harder to go back to school. (A study of a state university system found that about two-thirds of applicants with a felony criminal offense record stopped applying after their criminal history came up—compared to 21 percent of all applicants.) It’s harder to find affordable housing. (Many states make it illegal for returning citizens to live in public housing, even with their own families.)

That’s why 70 Million will tell stories about jail reform. We want to show how residents and communities are driving real change. If you’d like to learn more about 70 Million and get involved in reforms yourself, we’re proud to offer syllabi, resources, toolkits, and more on our site, 70millionpod.com. We’d love to hear from you: hello@lantiguawilliams.com or @LanWilCo.