Amplified Voices is a podcast that lifts the voices of people and families impacted by the criminal legal system. Hosts Jason and Amber speak with real people in real communities to help them step into the power of their lived experience. Together, they explore shared humanity and real solutions for positive change.
Cierra Cobb: On A Mission for Justice Season 4 - Episode 6
In this episode of Amplified Voices, Amber & Jason talk with Cierra Cobb, a paralegal, activist, and advocate for incarcerated people and their families. From her heart of resilience and strength, Cierra takes us on a poignant journey of survival and action.
In a world grappling with a global pandemic, Cierra reconnects and marries Jeffrey, an old friend who has been falsely convicted of a crime and incarcerated. Jeffrey’s troubling capital case, paired with the lack of a substantial defense strategy from his legal representation, sheds light on the imbalance, injustice, and bureaucracy within the American criminal legal system. His story illustrates the gravity of plea bargaining and the oft-ignored challenges posed by both systemic racism and the underfunding of public defense offices.
Learn about her work as an advocate and prison jail coordinator with Emancipate NC and her podcast, The Blacklight Mass Incarceration Show. Cierra's story is a rallying call to all - to remain steadfast, champion what you believe in, and never yield in the face of adversity.
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C. Dreams - What We Accept for Others, We Must Accept for Ourselves - Season 4 Episode 5
On this episode of Amplified Voices, Amber and Jason speak with C, a woman who has lived through the unimaginable - losing her mother at a young age, getting thrust into the foster system, and grappling with overdiagnosis and overmedication, displacement, and disconnection. We learn about her journey, from her challenging upbringing to her involvement in the sex trade and her initial encounters with the criminal legal system as a young, transgender woman.
C talks about the labels society imposes, and the struggles of being over-stigmatized within an oppressive system. We listen to C's experiences in a men's prison facility, the threats she faced, as well as her fight for proper healthcare. Strikingly, C shares about obtaining academic success amidst this turbulence- reminding us of the strength of the human spirit, and the power of belief and investment.
Finally, we dive into the world of policy sentencing, its implications on individuals like C, and the immense courage it takes to stand against the system. This episode is more than a story; it's a call to thought, a plea for understanding, and a catalyst for change.
She has written for Filter Magazine, Shadowproof, the Appeal, Yes! Magazine and maintains an active presence on Twitter.
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Emily Horowitz: Breaking the Stigma: From Rage to Reason Season 4 -Episode 4
How does society treat people based on their criminal conviction history and how can we better understand the unique experiences of people who are convicted of sexual offenses? Why, in an age where second chances and demands to reduce mass incarceration have become mainstream, are people with these convictions often excluded from reform and relief efforts? In this episode of Amplified Voices, Jason and Amber speak with Emily Horowitz, a professor of sociology and criminal justice at St. Francis College, ahead of the release of her new book: From Rage to Reason: Why We Need Sex Offense Laws Based on Facts Not Fear.
During this conversation, Professor Horowitz details her own personal and professional journey, along with powerful stories from the years she spent interviewing people impacted by the registry. The discussion reveals a deep empathy that comes from being in close proximity to people who are experiencing banishment and stigma, as well as an exploration of how laws based on vengeance rather than justice or evidence create new forms of harm while failing to address the real and pervasive problem of sexual violence.
About Emily Horowitz, PhD
Professor Emily Horowitz teaches courses in sociology at St. Francis College. She is the founder and co-director of the Justice Initiative. Her scholarly research addresses the causes and consequences of mass incarceration, with a focus on the harms of conviction registries and banishment laws.
Her latest book, From Rage to Reason: Why We Need Sex Crime Laws Based on Facts, Not Fear (Bloomsbury Academic, 2023), explores the human carnage wrought by decades of draconian and fear-based sex offense policies. She is also the author of Protecting Our Kids?: How Sex Offender Laws Are Failing Us (Praeger, 2015), which was awarded a 2016 Choice Outstanding Academic Title by the American Library Association, and co-editor, with Law Professor Larry Dubin, of Caught in the Web of the Criminal Justice System: Autism, Developmental Disabilities and Sex Offenses.
Professor Horowitz frequently engages in advocacy efforts and public scholarship aimed at challenging myths and misinformation that lead to ineffective and draconian laws. Select recent news publications and media include The Real Monsters (a 2022 essay in Inquest: A Decarceral Brainstorm), a Reason article about the man wrongfully convicted of raping prominent author Alice Sebold (2021), a NY Daily News editorial about the Supreme Court hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson (2022), and participation in an Intelligence Squared podcast (2023) debating the sex offense registry.
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Theresa - Fighting for Parole Justice in NY - Season 4 - Episode 3
How does the criminal legal system impact the lives of those involved and their families? Why is Parole Justice so important? Join Jason and Amber on this episode of Amplified Voices as we hear Theresa's powerful story of perseverance during her husband's lengthy incarceration. Visiting an incarcerated loved one is a process riddled with indignities and challenges. In our conversation with Theresa, we explore the emotional toll of visiting her husband in prison, the financial burden of staying connected, and the restrictions placed on communication. Theresa highlights the devastating impact these limitations have on both incarcerated people and their families, as well as shedding light on the inadequacies of healthcare provided to people who are incarcerated in New York.
In this compelling discussion, we dive into Theresa's advocacy work with Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP) and the importance of community involvement in criminal legal reform, particularly the urgency of providing opportunities for individuals to be evaluated as they are today rather than by their past. As she shares her journey, Theresa makes it clear that people should not be dying behind the walls when they could be contributing to violence disruption efforts in their communities.
Theresa featured an article in the Appeal: DYING BEHIND BARS: ANOTHER FORM OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT Elder Parole Bill https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2023/S2423Fair &Timely Parole Bill: https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/S497Support the show
LaResse Harvey - Surviving & Thriving -Season 4 Episode 2
In this episode of Amplified Voices, Jason & Amber speak with LaReese Harvey, a Connecticut native and walking testament to the power of perseverance. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and a formerly incarcerated black woman, she's faced some of the greatest oppression there is. Despite encountering significant obstacles and trauma, LaResse has committed herself to breaking down the abuse to prison pipeline through her writing, coaching and public advocacy.
LaReese is the author of the book, Buttons Journey, as well as one of the first inductees into the Great 8, organized by the Connecticut Hall of Change . She welcomes communications and inquiries at email@example.com and expresses a sincere thanks to Community Partners in Action for their love and support during her reentry process.
*Trigger warning* This episode includes references to childhood sexual abuse and violence behind bars. Survivors of violence should listen with a support person, listen in chunks or turn the podcast off if needed.
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Chris - Keep Moving Forward - Season 4 - Episode 1
Amplified Voices is back! In this episode, Amber and Jason met with Chris who shares the impact that a conviction, incarceration and registration has had on his plans to serve his country and to lead a good life. Chris shares his challenges and successes as he works to overcome many of the obstacles he faces as a parent, caregiver, professional and community member forced to register in the state of Florida.
Chris advocates with Florida Action Committee, more information on their work can be found here: https://floridaactioncommittee.org/
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I have really enjoyed this show! It shows the humanity of people who are often pushed to the margins. The hosts are great and have a variety of people on the podcast and always ask great questions. I’m excited to continue listening to the new season
The hosts of the podcast highlight all aspects of criminal justice system and more in this can’t miss podcast! The hosts and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!
At first I thought… “I won’t be into this, have nothing to do with Criminal Justice”. Then five minutes into the Richard Bronson interview - completely hooked! Big reason is the hosts ask really intelligent questions you don’t hear others asking. Can’t wait to see what they do with this show