James Forman Jr. is the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, a book that’s rooted in his experience as a public defender in D.C.

He considers public defense to be civil rights work and was surprised to find that D.C., despite its black political leadership, judges, police officers, and jurors, was home to a harsh criminal justice system. He explores this unexpected reality in his book.

In this episode of Washington City Podcast, Forman joins our City Lights editor Kayla Randall for a discussion of his book. The pair also gets into the challenges of telling this story without exonerating white supremacy and the idea of prison abolition. Listen, subscribe, learn, and enjoy.

Subscribe to the show on iTunes to ensure you get all our episodes as soon as they come out. (Non-Apple users can use this link.) You can also listen to the episode here:

Music for this episode was by Lee Rosevere and Jahzzar, used under the Creative Commons license.