Safety and Social Responsibility, Part 1: The Justice System

Sandra Bloom and Sarah Yanosy examine and expand on our current definition of safety to include the necessary aspect of social responsibility. With guests, they discuss the impact of our incomplete definition of safety on our growing criminal justice system and unpack the problems we face as a result.

Episode Description

In the first segment, Dr. Bloom and Ms. Yanosy will expand the definition of the word “safety” and discuss how the establishment and maintenance of safety is not just an individual issue but a social responsibility of organizations, communities, and whole societies. In our present culture, there is an expectation that basic physical safety is the domain of the criminal justice system. As our justice system – especially prisons – have grown, it is arguably less safe now than even a couple of decades ago. And for many people in our culture, there is no justice.

In the second segment, we focus on ideas around trauma-informed justice systems by engaging in a conversation with Dr. Stephanie Covington who, through her many publications and training programs, has been involved in gender-responsive and trauma-informed services in the justice system for over twenty-five years.

In the third segment, we have a conversation with two other activists in the justice system, Robert Reed and EL Sawyer. Mr. Reed is currently serving as the Executive Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania, after thirty years as a prosecutor for the Department of Justice. In his current role, Mr. Reed is endeavoring to help the justice system in Pennsylvania become trauma-informed through his work with Heal PA, whose mission is to lead and support Pennsylvania in becoming trauma-informed and healing-centered by providing resources, advocacy, and education via a multidisciplinary and multisectoral approach. EL Sawyer is a filmmaker and activist who draws on his own experience with incarceration to help move the justice system to become more humane and therapeutic.


  • Dr. Stephanie Covington, Clinician, Author, Organizational Consultant, Lecturer, Trauma Activist in criminal justice system
  • Robert Reed, Executive Deputy Attorney General of PA
  • El Sawyer, Filmmaker and Social Justice Activist based in Philadelphia

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