Is the Criminal Justice System Racist? A Soho Forum Debate

The Washington Post's Radley Balko vs. the Manhattan Institute's Rafael Mangual on whether "there is overwhelming evidence that the criminal justice system is racist."


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There is overwhelming evidence that the criminal justice system is racist.

That was the resolution of an online Soho Forum debate held on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. It featured The Washington Post's Radley Balko and the Manhattan Institute's Rafael Mangual. The debate was moderated by Soho Forum Director Gene Epstein.

Arguing that America's criminal justice system is, in fact, racist was Radley Balko, an opinion writer for The Washington Post. A former editor at Reason, Balko is also the author of Rise of the Warrior Cop and co-author of The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist.

Defending America's criminal justice against the charge of racism was Rafael Mangual, the deputy director of legal policy at the Manhattan Institute, who is also a contributing editor for City Journal. Mangual's writing has appeared in The Wall Street JournalThe Atlantic, the New York Post, the Boston Herald, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Soho Forum, sponsored by the Reason Foundation, is a monthly debate series at the SubCulture Theater in Manhattan's East Village.

Update: Voting on this debate ended on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, at noon EST. Radley Balko won by convincing 21.62 percent of the audience to change their minds. Rafael Mangual convinced 10.81 percent.

Produced by John Osterhoudt.