Inquest is a forum for advancing bold ideas to end mass incarceration in the United States. Here, you will find original, insightful work by thinkers and doers across a broad range of experience and expertise, united in the belief that mass incarceration is an epic injustice that can and must urgently end.

Our authors include leading and new voices across fields — from activism and community organizing to law and policy, academia, journalism, and public health. Drawing on their lived experience and their accumulated wisdom, they come here to share ideas, narratives, and analyses that boldly explore the causes and consequences of mass incarceration and that provoke rigorous discussion — all aimed at driving thoughtful action.

Our readers come to learn, to think, to challenge themselves, and to join in the work. We see our core audience as those who are actively engaged in the hard and necessary project of decarceration. We understand them to share a common set of values and also a common sense of curiosity, along with a desire to learn from and to be pushed by their peers. Understanding our core audience this way, we do not set out to persuade our readers that mass incarceration exists or that it represents an unconscionable instantiation of racial injustice and oppression. Likewise, while we aim to spark a conversation that is welcoming and accessible to newcomers and beginners, we do not aim primarily to explain the basic contours of mass incarceration to those encountering it for the first time.

Rather, our mission is to create a space where the voices of those doing the thinking and the work — the people closest to the problem, including those directly impacted by mass incarceration — can come together to share ideas and be heard as they pursue bold solutions.