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Criminal Justice Reform

From Retribution to Restoration: The Revivalists Spread the Good Word of Criminal Justice Reform

NOLA's philanthropic rockers say that musicians have the power to influence elections
Ministry of sound: the Revivalists winning hearts and minds in Bridgeport, Connecticut. (Credit: Taylor Hill via Getty Images)

America’s execution chambers must close, say New Orleans pop-rockers the Revivalists, in a new social covenant embracing all folks as worthy of life, betterment, and safety.

“The justice system is based on retribution and punishment, rather than enabling people and actually doing things that improve society and make us safer,” says Rob Ingraham, saxophonist.

SPIN IMPACT held a discussion of criminal justice reform with the Revivalists, during which Ingraham says that redirecting the correctional system from vengeance to rehabilitation is the big challenge.

“How do we get towards a justice system that’s more about restoration and more about finding the truth, rather than finding somebody who you can throw away and put in a prison cell, put on death row, put to work, and turn them into a criminal for the rest of their lives?” Ingraham says.

The pain and strain of a punitive approach is tangible in the Revivalists’ home state, says Ingraham: “Louisiana is the most incarcerated state in the United States, which is the most incarcerated nation in the world, per capita.” [Editor’s note: some per capita rankings have the U.S. pipped at the post by a handful of nations including Rwanda and El Salvador, which has instituted an anti-gang policy of mass incarceration.]

Watch the full interview to hear the Revivalists, whose philanthropic wing is called Rev Causes, also weigh in on the power of music to soften people’s hearts and influence their votes, on educational standards, and about the shock of school excursions to prison rodeos at notorious Angola, AKA the Louisiana State Penitentiary.