The United States is the world's leader in incarceration. A few mind-boggling data points:
- There are 2.2 million people in the nation’s prisons and jails—a 500% increase over the last 40 years.
- 1 in every 37 adults in the United States, or 2.7% of the adult population, is under some form of correctional supervision.
- Though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately 32% of the US population, they comprised 56% of all incarcerated people in 2015.
- In the United States, a black person is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person is, despite approximately equal rates of use.
- Private prisons are a ~$80 billion/annual industry in the USA.
- Immigrants, regardless of legal status, commit crimes at lower rates than native-born citizens. However, among the 189,000 people in federal prisons, 22% are non-citizens. Immigration law violations were the most serious offense for one-third of noncitizens serving federal prison sentences.
These startling statistics are a result of changes in law and policy, not changes in crime rates. Learn more from subject matter experts that are leading the charge for criminal justice reform and the reentry process. The panelists will share firsthand experiences and insights of the criminal justice system join us for a power hour (plus) of insightful information + time to ask questions and network with like-minded Austinites that want to a more just and equitable society.
Lewis Conway, Criminal Justice Organizer with Grassroots Leadership and Texas Advocates for Justice (TAJ). Conway recently made history in declaring his candidacy for a City Council seat.
Katie Ford, Executive Director of Truth Be Told.
Darwin Hamilton, Author of '25 Years Later' and an active community leader and speaker. Serves on Grassroots Leadership's board and Reentry Advocacy Project.
Stevie Hernandez, Co-Founder of Crack Open the Door
Lauren Johnson, Criminal Justice Outreach Coordinator at ACLU. Active with Grassroots Leadership & Texas Observer
Latreese Cooke - Radio host at KAZI 88.7FM The Voice and Soul of Austin and Executive Director of reentry services provider, MEELJ.