The United States comprises only 5% of the world’s population but houses more than 20% of the world’s prison population. Since 1970, America’s incarcerated population has increased by 500%. One out of three African American and one out of six Latino boys can expect to go to prison, as compared with one out of seventeen white boys. The system is commonly known as the New Jim Crow. Each year 650,000 of those incarcerated return to their communities while facing thousands of federal, state, and local legal restrictions impeding their reintegration back into society. During these three sessions we will examine how police, prosecutors, judges, legislators, corrections officials, schools and the public have fostered and perpetuated our country's extraordinarily high rate of incarceration. We will then discuss how these different authorities can change and reduce the harmful effects of our criminal legal system and put an end to mass incarceration. The presenters will also provide ample time for questions and dialogue.
Kathie Gourlay holds an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan. She is a retired Washtenaw Community College instructor who is passionate about criminal justice reform. Kathie volunteers with the American Friends Service Committee and Friends of Restorative Justice of Washtenaw County. Carolyn Madden has an M.A. in linguistics from the City University of New York and a J.D. degree from Wayne State University. She is a retired lecturer from the University of Michigan and is a member of Friends of Restorative Justice of Washtenaw County and the League of Women Voters.