On Sunday, Jan 11, 2019, Civic Fellows were fortunate to be joined by two luminaries in criminal justice reform:
Mass incarceration, many on any side of the aisle agree, is one of the biggest social problems the United States faces today. Our sprawling prison system imposes staggering economic, social, political, and racial costs. At our Civic Forum, we tackled some of the issues head on, exploring who gets incarcerated in our country, why, and what we can do about it. We also stepped back to look at root issues like WHY people get sent to jail, what the purpose and end goals of imprisonment are, whether these goals are being accomplished and if not, what other options we have. You can access background readings, and see some of the eye-popping statistics, at https://tinyurl.com/NGPCriminalJustice
Check out Jarrell and Katy’s framing and presentation:
Following the presentations, our Fellows engaged with a case study of how to address challenges of one of the nation’s most notorious jails: Rikers Island. In a few weeks, Katy will meet with the Lippman Commission to provide recommendations related to closing Rikers–and what do do on the other side of it. She would like to represent the views of all critical stakeholders–and our Fellows will help her do so. Fellows opted in to core stakeholder groups, thinking about and discussing what they perceive as the most vital issues and recommendations of next steps. Stakeholder groups included:
- Incarcerated, formerly incarcerated, and family members of incarcerated
- Correction officers and their unions
- Neighbors of proposed jail in lower Manhattan
- Local businesses and property owners near proposed borough-based jail
- #CloseRikers Advocacy group
- Urban planners
Check out the presentations our Fellows prepared, and their incisive responses to probing questions:
We also had the great pleasure of learning about–and contributing ideas for– a new program Jarrell is creating called Justice Ambassadors: Council of the Youth. A collaboration of the Center For Justice at Columbia University and the Manhattan DA’s office, Justice Ambassadors is an eight-week initiative that will launch this summer, bringing together at-risk and more traditional high school youth to work collaboratively with city officials from around the city to develop policy proposals and a youth-based political agenda to promote social and communal change in criminal justice. If you’d like more information, contact Jarrell at [email protected]
We agreed that we could spend the whole year–and the rest of our lives–to analyzing and strategizing about the criminal justice system. We’re excited to be on the ground floor of many vital reforms in New York and will continue to dissect, reflect, and strive to put more justice into criminal justice.
We closed out our session with a fascinating podcast, with Civic Fellows Marc Spenser Bauzon from NEST+M, Maya Joseph from Packer, Mihret Maxwell from Harvest Collegiate, Sara Chough from Spence, and Tamar Thomas Samuel Jr. from School of the Future interviewing Jarrell and Katy. Listen to it on Soundcloud below.
Our all star Criminal Justice pod squad:
Join us on Feb 10 from 11AM-2PM for a lively forum on Freedom of Expression with keynote speaker Will Creeley, Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Advocacy for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)