Editor’s note: Knowledge Applied is a new podcast from the University of Chicago News Office. Each of its five episodes will take listeners inside the research of UChicago scholars helping reshape everyday life while tackling some of the biggest questions facing cities today.
Matt Epperson, associate professor in the School of Social Service Administration, has seen the failures of mass incarceration first hand. For more than two decades, Epperson worked with incarcerated individuals as a social worker, including six years in a county jail in Michigan.
Epperson calls the revolving door of mass incarceration returning individuals to jail “the definition of insanity,” especially for individuals suffering from mental illness and drug addiction who failed to receive the help they truly needed.