Not that there are a lot of clean records in the Justice Center. Most of the defendants, many of the victims, too, have had some prior entanglement with the law. And even if it's small stuff—marijuana possession or trespassing—you get the stink on you, or what I've come to think of as the stink. You get a whiff of bad citizenry about you. An odor that causes the presumption of innocence to shrivel.

[ . . .]

Punishment is relative. What it takes to teach you a lesson depends on what you're used to. But there was a more disturbing implication as well. One that prows this courthouse and throughout our criminal justice system. That we are not like them. The ones we arrest and punish, the ones with the stink, they're slightly different species, with senses dulled and toughened. They don't feel pain or sorrow or joy or freedom or the loss of freedom the same way you or I would.

— Serial, S. 3, E. 1: A bar fight walks into a justice center