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May 8, 2019 27 min

For as long as anyone can remember, criminal justice in America has meant one thing: punishment. In the last few years, however, that has begun to change. In a six-part narrative miniseries called Charged, New York Times Magazine staff writer Emily Bazelon traces that change through the lives of people who pass through a special court in New York City designed to be a speedy machine for the harsh punishment of illegal gun possession. Along the way she’ll pose the big, thorny questions that are at the center of the national conversation about reform: What exactly makes someone a criminal? Can you ever really outrun that label? And if you’re gonna take apart the machine we’ve built in America to punish people, what do you put in its place?

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