Championing Dignity

Addressing Harm and Improving Prison Culture through Anti-Racism

Past Event
Thursday, Oct 28, 2021
12:00 PM — 4:00 PM ET

Join the Vera Institute of Justice and Chicano-Indigenous led MILPA on October 27, 2021 for a free virtual convening, Championing Dignity: Addressing Harm and Improving Prison Culture through Antiracism.

The dynamic event will gather activists, formerly incarcerated people, and correctional leaders working to reform prisons and champion dignity. We invite you to participate in groundbreaking discussions on how we can address harm and improve prison culture with approaches that are rooted in antiracist practice.

The conference will feature a variety of presentations, panels, Q&As, and breakout discussions. Topics include:

  • How we can infuse restorative justice into prison systems
  • Why prison reform is beneficial for both system-impacted people and their families, as well as correctional officers

You will be joined by visionaries, advocates, and thought leaders who are uplifting healing, fairness, and respect for incarcerated people, including:

  • New York Times best-seller Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be An Antiracist, and a recent 2021 MacArthur Fellow recipient
  • Poet and lawyer Reginald Dwayne Betts, a recent 2021 MacArthur Fellow recipient
  • Formerly incarcerated leader Marcus Bullock and founder and CEO of Flikshop, an organization focused on keeping incarcerated people connected to loved ones through mail
  • Former Director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice and current Public Welfare Foundation President and CEO Candice Jones
  • Former Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Corrections Scott Semple
  • Dean Williams, executive director of Colorado's Department of Corrections
  • Georgetown Prison Scholar Joel Caston, and first incarcerated Washington, D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner
  • Deputy Governor at Halden Prison in Norway Jan Stromnes
  • Executive Director of the Institute to End Mass Incarceration at Harvard Law School Premal Dharia
  • Vera President and Director Nick Turner
  • Prison Fellowship Director of Policy and Research Kate Trammell
  • Educator and social-emotional healing practitioner Karega Bailey
  • And more

About Restoring Promise

Restoring Promise is an initiative led by MILPA and the Vera Institute of Justice to create housing units grounded in dignity for young adults in prison. Restoring Promise works with prisons across the country to replace a punishing correctional culture rooted in our country’s history of racism and white supremacy with healing, race equity, restorative justice, and family partnership. All of our work is done in collaboration with the people most impacted by prison: incarcerated people and corrections staff. Today, the initiative works in Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, and South Carolina.


MILPA is a California-based grassroots nonprofit founded and led by formerly incarcerated Chicano-Indigenous leaders who are fighting systemic racism in prison systems nationwide.

About Vera

The Vera Institute of Justice is powered by hundreds of advocates, researchers, and activists working to transform the criminal legal and immigration systems until they’re fair for all. Founded in 1961 to advocate for alternatives to money bail in New York City, Vera is now a national organization that partners with impacted communities and government leaders for change. We develop just, antiracist solutions so that money doesn’t determine freedom; fewer people are in jails, prisons, and immigration detention; and everyone is treated with dignity. Vera’s headquarters is in Brooklyn, New York, with offices in Washington, D.C., New Orleans, and Los Angeles.