Interviewing Bryan Stevenson
- By Richard Branson -
- Sep 14, 2012
We had the great privilege of having Bryan Stevenson come join us at Necker recently. I wanted to talk to him ever since I saw his incredible TED Talk. I decided to interview him, and you can watch the whole discussion below.
Bryan runs the Equal Justice Initiative, a non profit organisation headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama that raises awareness about some profound injustice in the American system. He confirmed many atrocities I had already heard of through my work with the Global Commission on Drug Policy and Drug Policy Alliance. For example, in America, for every nine people executed, one has been exonerated! It’s horrible to think that the land of the free is likely executing people who were wrongfully convicted!
Equal Justice focuses on what mass incarceration has done to America. “The prison population in the United States in 1972 was 300,000 people.” Brian told us. “Today it’s 2.3 million and a lot of that has been of course a part of the drug policy.”
Beyond the incarceration explosion being due to excessive punishment for drug offenses, Bryan shows the terrible consequences for society, especially minorities: with one in three black men between ages 18 and 30 in jail, on probation, or on parole, children in many American communities grow up expecting that they will end up in jail.
Please watch, share with your friends. And learn more about Bryan’s work and how you can help at www.eji.org.
By Richard Branson. Founder of Virgin Group