The Impact of Criminal Justice Policies on Minority Communities
A Justice Action Center Symposium
Friday, April 27, 2012
New York Law School
The New York Law School Justice Action Center’s Racial Justice Project and the Racial Justice Project of the American Civil Liberties Union cosponsored this daylong conference in New York City for advocates, organizers, litigators, researchers, and individuals to explore the impact of criminal justice policies and practices on minority communities.
There has been increasing attention within the legal community on the impact of criminal justice policies—particularly harsh sentencing laws and long-term collateral consequences—on individuals who are convicted and sent to prison. But these laws do not just affect the lives of the individuals who are convicted; they have a broader social and economic impact on the people who remain in the communities that are disproportionately targeted by so-called “tough-on-crime” policies. And, given this nation’s disproportionate incarceration of racial and ethnic minorities, those communities are most heavily impacted.
This conference explored the long-term impact of criminal justice policies on the home communities, with a focus on: (1) employment and economic impact; (2) civic engagement and political power; (3) families and children; and (4) policing and public safety. In addition to four plenary sessions, the conference featured a keynote address from Professor Paul Butler and meaningful opportunities to share ideas and strategize together.
To view the flyer, click here.
- Deborah N. Archer, Professor and Director of the Racial Justice Project, New York Law School
- Dennis Parker, Director, Racial Justice Program, American Civil Liberties Union
Panel I: The Economic Impact of Incarceration
This panel addressed the many ways that concentrated over-incarceration, insufficient resources to support formerly incarcerated community members, employment discrimination, and other criminal justice policies work to undermine economic development in low income communities and will explore alternative approaches that are more likely to produce better outcomes for formerly incarcerated individuals and the communities to which they return.
- Moderator: Mercer Givhan, Associate Professor, New York Law School
- Brian Roberts, Coordinator of the Institutional Services Program, Community Defender Division, DC Public Defender Service
- Glenn Martin, Vice President of Development and Public Affairs, Fortune Society
- Todd Cox, Director, Office of Communications and Legislative Affairs, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- Michael Pinard, Professor and Director, Clinical Law Program, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
- Brenda V. Smith, Professor of Law, Washington College of Law at American University
Panel II: Political Alienation, Democratic Participation, and Civic Engagement
This panel explored ways that harsh criminal justice policies affect the ability of impacted communities, predominantly communities of color, to participate in our country’s political and civic systems. Voting rights, census counts, legislative districting, and jury service are some of the ways that high criminal conviction rates can impact a community’s political power and representation.
- Moderator: Erika Wood, Associate Professor, New York Law School
- Ryan Haygood, Director of the Political Participation Group, NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc.
- Eddie Ellis, President and Founder, Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions
- Marc Mauer, Executive Director, The Sentencing Project
- Jeff Manza, Professor of Sociology; Department Chair, New York University
Lunch Keynote Speaker
- Introduction: Dennis Parker, Director, Racial Justice Program, American Civil Liberties Union
- Paul Butler, Carville Dickinson Benson Research Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School
Panel III: Youth in Transition: Criminal Justice Policies and Juvenile Offenders
Every year, almost 100,000 youth are released from the juvenile justice system. These youth are often returned to families struggling with poverty, and to communities with few supportive programs, high crime rates, and failing schools. Many face unemployment, homelessness, and challenges re-engaging with their education. This panel addressed these and other unique issues that confront juveniles and their families as they re-enter the community.
- Moderator: Daniel Warshawsky, Associate Professor of Law, New York Law School
- Laurie Parise, Founding Executive Director, Youth Represent
- Gwendolyn Williams, Assistant Prosecutor / Director, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office
- James Forman, Clinical Professor of Law ,Yale Law School
- Kristin Henning, Sidley Austin-Robert D. McLean ’70 Visiting Clinical Professor of Law, Yale Law School; Professor of Law & Co-Director, Juvenile Justice Clinic, Georgetown Law
- Courtney Bowie, Senior Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union
Panel IV: Criminal Justice and Public Safety
This panel discussed how “tough on crime” policies, including certain immigration laws, impact the safety and security of communities, as well as the lasting impact these policies have on the relationship between members of those communities and the police.
- Moderator: Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, Associate Professor, New York Law School
- Vanita Gupta, Deputy Legal Director, American Civil Liberties Union National
- Vince Warren, Executive Director, Center for Constitutional Rights
- Yolanda Vazquez, Clinical Supervisor and Lecturer, University of Pennsylvania Law School
- Robert Perry, Legislative Director, New York Civil Liberties Union