Events

Reimagining Prison

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Wednesday, Oct 10, 2018
12:00 PM — 3:00 PM
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Host Locations: John Jay College of Criminal Justice Gerald Lynch Theater (New York City) & Cheshire Correctional Institution (Connecticut - Cheshire by invitation only)

Join the Vera Institute of Justice and staff and residents of the TRUE unit at Cheshire Correctional Institution in Connecticut to Reimagine Prison in the United States.

Today, life in America’s prisons is dismal and not productive, and the brunt of these conditions fall on people of color and those who are socially and economically disadvantaged—in large part, the result of their systemic and historic social exclusion from much of American society. To remedy this, our nation must reckon with our past—as other nations, like Germany, have done before us—and organize our incarceration system and its aims around human dignity…for people incarcerated, and for staff and for the public, which deserves an effective system that delivers safety for all.

This convening culminates the work of Vera’s Reimagining Prison Project, launched in June 2016 at historic Eastern State Penitentiary, with the goal of transforming the how, what and why of incarceration in this country in pursuit of a dramatically smaller correctional system that places human dignity at its philosophical and operational core. Since the launch, we’ve engaged hundreds of bipartisan stakeholders—incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, corrections leaders and staff, crime survivors, reform advocates, policymakers, scholars, thought leaders of various political persuasions, and many others—and undertook significant research and program activities to inform our vision for incarceration in America. 

Along with the release of our report presenting this transformative new vision, including principles to elucidate what a dignity-center approach could mean in practice,  the October 10th event will simulcast a discussion with incarcerated young men and corrections officers from the Connecticut prison where the TRUE unit operates as an example of radical reimagining and re-engineering. Additionally, attendees will be challenged and inspired by calls to action from other speakers and panelists in New York and at the prison.

The time is now to cease tinkering at the margins, and to drive fundamental change in American prisons. 

Confirmed speakers:

  • Baz Dreisinger, Founding Academic Director of John Jay's Prison-to-College Pipeline program, and Prison-to-College Pipeline students
  • Alex Frank, Project Director, Youth Justice, Vera Institute of Justice
  • Carrie Johnson, Justice Correspondent at National Public Radio
  • Candice Jones, President and CEO of Public Welfare Foundation
  • Karol Mason, President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Michael Murphy, Executive Director of MASS Design Group
  • Pat Nolan, Director, Center for Criminal Justice Reform,  The American Conservation Union Foundation
  • Fred Patrick, Director, Sentencing and Corrections, Vera Institute of Justice
  • Andy Potter, Executive Director at Michigan Corrections Organization
  • Rick Raemisch, Executive Director of the Colorado Dept. Of Corrections
  • Stanley Richards, Executive Vice President of The Fortune Society
  • Scott Semple, Commissioner at Connecticut Dept. of Correction
  • Ryan Shanahan, Research Director at Vera’s  Center on Youth Justice
  • Nick Turner, President & Director, Vera Institute of Justice
  • Residents & Staff of TRUE

Details