One negotiator tells her story of reaching across the aisle at a time when the United States felt more divided than ever.
Criminal justice advocates have tried for decades to pass legislation to reduce the U.S. prison population. Yet somehow, at a moment when the United States felt more polarized than ever, lawmakers managed to agree on a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill during Donald Trump’s presidency. It was called the First Step Act, and it reduced the sentences of thousands of incarcerated people in federal prisons.
This week on our podcast The Negotiators, we talk to Jessica Jackson, a lawyer and one of the key advocates for the First Step Act. She and political commentator Van Jones co-founded the group #Cut50, which helped advocate for the legislation. In this episode, Jackson tells host Jenn Williams how she convinced both Republicans and Democrats to support the bill.
For the full story on the First Step Act negotiations, we recommend watching the upcoming documentary The First Step, out in theaters in the United States in early 2023.
About The Negotiators: Conflicts don’t just get resolved on their own. Most are settled through a grueling process of give and take, usually behind closed doors. On the podcast The Negotiators, Foreign Policy is teaming up with Doha Debates to put listeners in the room. Hosted by FP deputy editor Jenn Williams, each episode features one mediator, diplomat, or troubleshooter, describing one dramatic negotiation. You’ll hear about a nuclear standoff, a hostage crisis, a gang mediation, and much more: successes and failures that shaped people’s lives. See All Episodes
More The Negotiators episodes:
The Hard Road to Equal Pay in U.S. Soccer
The Negotiators: How soccer player-turned-executive Cindy Parlow Cone negotiated a gender parity deal.
How the Good Friday Agreement Ended Decades of Violence in Northern Ireland
The Negotiators: A top negotiator looks back at the deal that resolved the Troubles 25 years ago.
The Art of Hostage Negotiations—When You’re the Hostage
A Texas rabbi mediates a life-or-death situation.
Other Foreign Policy podcasts:
Spies don’t talk—it’s the cardinal rule of the business. But here at Foreign Policy, we get them to open up. On I Spy, we hear from the operations people: the spies who steal secrets, who kill adversaries, who turn agents into double agents. Each episode features one spy telling the story of one operation. Want swag? Check out I Spy's merch by clicking here.
Ones and Tooze
Foreign Policy economics columnist Adam Tooze, a history professor and a popular author, is encyclopedic about basically everything: from the COVID shutdown, to climate change, to pasta sauce. On FP's hit podcast, Tooze and FP deputy editor Cameron Abadi look at two data points each week that explain the world: one drawn from the week’s headlines and the other from just about anywhere else Tooze takes us. Check out Adam Tooze’s column here.