The Prison System: Purpose & Programming – Oct 20

10:15am-12:15pm; Borgwardt Hall

Session II in the three-part workshop Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System” will demonstrate that the prison system is indeed complicated. Navigating it can be confounding, counterintuitive and defeating. Dr. Karen Reece will lead us through facts and circumstances that help us understand what prison is really like for those in the system.

Did you know that:

  • truth-in-sentencing laws have created circumstances that allow – without due process – sentences to increase beyond that set by a judge?
  • corrections officials are again deciding whether we will need to send prisoners out of state, as happened in the ’80s and ’90s because of overcrowding?
  • mental health conditions explain the incarceration of 33% of men and 75% of women prisoners in Wisconsin?

Assumptions and stereotypes are not good ways to understand what prison is like today, what resources are needed or available for rehabilitation, to what extent fairness or justice drives the system and to what extent the public can influence changes. With Dr. Reece’s guidance, we will learn what we don’t know and consider what we should do about this information.

Karen Reece, PhD, is VP of Research and Education at Nehemiah Community Development Corporation. Dr. Reece does strategic planning and manages a continuous evaluation program for Nehemiah Center. She brings to this position analytical skills developed in product development in a previous career as well as an expansive range of skills, activities, and interests spanning science, arts, and community-building organizations. Reece does considerable public education on the criminal justice system, frequently with workshops like this one.

Childcare is provided. 

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