Glenn Loury
The Glenn Show 🎙️
Rafael Mangual – Criminal (In)Justice
Rafael Mangual – Criminal (In)Justice

This week’s I’ve got Rafael Mangual on the show for his long-awaited (at least by me) TGS debut. Rafael is my colleague at the Manhattan Institute, where he is the Nick Ohnell Fellow and head of research for the Policing and Public Safety Initiative. He is also the author of the new book Criminal (In)Justice: What the Push for Decarceration and Depolicing Gets Wrong and Who It Hurts Most, which I highly recommend to anyone interested in crime and policing issues.

We begin by discussing the path that brought Rafael from his childhood in New York to law school in Chicago to his current dream job at the Manhattan Institute studying crime, policing, and public safety. His new book, Criminal (In)Justice, offers a critique of movements to defund the police and to abolish prisons, arguing that police and prisons are institutions necessary to the maintenance of order and public safety. I ask Rafael to respond to critics of incarceration, from those who think prisons only make crime worse to those who view them as inherently unjust. I also ask whether there might be some merit to defund-the-police-type arguments (Rafael thinks not). We end on a biographical note. Rafael’s father was an NYPD officer, but when Rafael suggested he might want to become one, too, his father dissuaded him. His reasons why are poignant and provide rare insight into some trends in law enforcement we’re seeing today.

I truly hope decarceration and defunding advocates give this episode a listen. Rafael’s well-honed, data-driven arguments cannot be brushed aside with name-calling and racial justice cliché. There’s much more to discuss than we had time for, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing Rafael back in this space soon.

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0:00 How Rafael came to the Manhattan Institute

7:33 Rafael’s new book, Criminal (In)Justice: What the Push for Decarceration and Depolicing Gets Wrong and Who It Hurts Most

15:35 Is prison the right response to violent crime?

26:20 Why Rafael believes in three-strikes-type sentencing guidelines

31:42 Incarceration may lower crime, but is it just? 

41:54 Rafael: Defunding the police is an indefensible idea

49:34 Should we worry about racial disparities in the non-deadly use of force by police?

1:00:08 Why Rafael’s father didn’t want him to become a cop

Links and Readings

Rafael’s new book, Criminal (In)Justice: What the Push for Decarceration and Depolicing Gets long and Who It Hurts Most

Eric Helland and Alexander Tabarrok’s article, “Does Three Strikes Deter? A Nonparametric Estimation”

Rafael’s conversation with former NYPD and LAPD police commissioner William Bratton

Roland Fryer and Rafael’s appearance on Peter Robinson’s Uncommon Knowledge podcast


Glenn Loury

The Glenn Show 🎙️

Weekly conversations on race, inequality, and more, with Glenn Loury. Bi-weekly appearances by John McWhorter.