Shades of Freedom

logo for Shades of Freedom podcastShades of Freedom is a podcast from the Aspen Institute’s Criminal Justice Reform Initiative. Our podcast amplifies and uplifts promising efforts aimed at reducing mass incarceration, and examines the ecosystem of related inequalities that surrounds and perpetuates it.

Our podcast features many of the people working on changing the justice system, from policymakers to activists, and from returning citizens to systems leaders. Our discussions are wide-ranging, from the school-to-confinement pipeline, to alternatives to incarceration, to policing, to sentencing, to prosecutorial reform to incarceration, to reentry and how all of this intersects with other community systems (such as education, health, housing and more). Today’s world seeks more than reform; it demands transformation. Our guests on Shades of Freedom personify this ideal.

The podcast can be found on all the major platforms, including Apple, Google, and Spotify. You can also listen to individual episodes at the links below.

The Shades of Freedom podcast, hosted by Dr. Douglas E. Wood, Director of the Criminal Justice Reform Initiative, is named after and inspired by the book Shades of Freedom: Racial Politics and Presumptions of the American Legal Process, by Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr.


2022 Bonus Episode: Pushing Back on the Pushback to Justice Reform | guests: Erica Bond & DeAnna Hoskins

Episode 16: Beyond Crisis Response: Health and Justice | guest: Tasha Blackmon

Episode 15: Restoring Rights and Clearing Records | guest: Sheena Meade

Episode 14: Local Justice Journalism | guest: Daniel Nichanian

Episode 13: Turning Pain Into Purpose | guest: LaTonya A. Tate

Episode 12: Can We Depolarize Justice Reform? | guest: Marc Levin

Episode 11: Survivors Choose Healing and Restoration | guest: Danielle Sered

Episode 10: Distress Concentrated In Place | guest: Renita Francois

Episode 9: Must Prison Be Traumatic? | guest: Nneka Jones Tapia

Episode 8: Parsimony v. The Justice System | guests: Daryl Atkinson & Jeremy Travis

Episode 7: Black Liberation and Justice in Detroit | guest: Amanda Alexander

Episode 6: Mapping (In)Justice | guest: Eric Cadora

Episode 5: Walking Philly’s Tightrope of Youth Justice | guest: Chekemma J. Fulmore-Townsend

2021 Bonus Episode: Beyond Policing: Creating Safe and Just Communities

Episode 4: Knowledge, Power and Freedom: The Past and Future of College-In-Prison | guest: Rev. Vivian D. Nixon

Episode 3: Transforming Justice in Oregon: Racism, Protests and COVID-19 | guest: Bobbin Singh

Episode 2: Freedom Libraries: The Million Book Project | guest: Dwayne Betts

Episode 1: The Criminalization of Black Girls | guest: Dr. Monique Morris