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The United States has the highest documented rate of incarceration in the world, a rate that has increased by 500 percent in the past 40 years. In response to this crisis, Bennington College hosted a two-day conference at the The Center for the Advancement of Public Action (CAPA) focused on improving the justice and incarceration system in America. The conference was integrated into CAPA's initiative on incarceration, which includes public lectures, developing curriculum, and opportunities for generating powerful solutions.

Fall 2014 Conference

  • Title | Incarceration in America
  • Dates | October 10–11, 2014
  • Location | Bennington College
  • Contact | capa@bennington.edu
  • Program

Panels

Friday

  • Welcome | Elizabeth Coleman | WATCH
  • Juvenile Detention | Vincent Schiraldi (moderator); Liz Gayne; Bart Lubow; JoAnne Page | WATCH
  • Keynote Address | Glenn Martin | WATCH
  • Incarceration, Race, and Class | Eric Cadora (moderator); Todd Clear; Vivian Nixon; Marc Mauer; David Soares | WATCH
  • Collateral Consequences | Glenn Martin (moderator); Ravi Ragbir; Margaret Colgate Love; Bernard Kerik; Robert Creamer | WATCH

Saturday

  • Incarceration and Public Health | Soffiyah Elijah (moderator); Ernest Drucker; Kim Gilhuly; Robert Fullilove; Gabriel Sayegh | WATCH
  • Alternatives to Incarceration and Re-entry | Annabel Davis-Goff (moderator); George McDonald; Rita Zimmer; JoAnne Page; Elizabeth Gaynes | WATCH
  • A Vision for the Future | Gabriel Sayegh (moderator); Jonathan Gradess; Glenn Martin; Max Kenner; Marc Levin; Peggy McGarry | WATCH

Full List of Panelists

Biographies

  • Bart Lubow is a senior consultant to the Annie E. Casey Foundation. He recently retired as director of the Juvenile Justice Strategy Group at the Foundation, where for more than 20 years, he designed and managed the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), the nation’s most widely replicated juvenile justice reform initiative. Mr. Lubow was director of Alternatives to Incarceration for New York State from 1984–1991, and director of Special Defender Services for the NYC Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Defense Division from 1974–1984.
  • Bernard Kerik is a highly accomplished and decorated leader in law enforcement, correction, national security, and criminal justice and prison reform. He served as the 40th police commissioner of the City of New York, commissioner of the New York City Department of Corrections, lead advisor in Iraq’s redevelopment after Saddam Hussein’s fall, and as a national security advisor for numerous heads of state. After his leadership in Iraq, President George W. Bush nominated Commissioner Kerik for Secretary of Homeland Security. Soon after his nomination, Commissioner Kerik was charged with tax evasion and false statements for which he served a federal sentence. Since his incarceration, he has directed his efforts towards criminal justice and prison reform.
  • P. David Soares is currently serving his third term as Albany County district attorney. Since taking office, Mr. Soares has devoted his energy to bringing “One Standard of Justice” to Albany County. He remains committed to leading an office that is “Tough on Crime” and “Smart on Prevention” by reducing street violence through creative, non-traditional means, and building hope for the people of Albany County by restoring communities, addressing the crisis of re-entry, and emphasizing prevention over prosecution.
  • Eric Cadora established the Justice Mapping Center at the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University in 2007. As director of the Center, he applies his 15-year experience mapping the characteristics, scale, and policy implications of locally concentrated criminal justice populations migrating between prison and home in neighborhoods, cities, and states around the country. Mr. Cadora is the author of the Million Dollar Blocks project and the Justice Reinvestment initiative, for which he was a co-recipient of the 2009 American Society of Criminology President’s Award. Mr. Cadora has written articles on locally concentrated mass incarceration and is co-author of Community Justice.
  • Ernest Drucker is professor emeritus in the Department of Family and Social Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine; research professor and director of the Academy for Public Health and Criminal Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice; and adjunct professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. He is the author of A Plague of Prisons: The Epidemiology of Mass Incarceration in America, and is currently working on Decarceration: The Antidote to Mass Imprisonment.
  • Gabriel Sayegh is the managing director of policy and campaigns for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). Focused primarily in New York, Mr. Sayegh’s recent campaigns include addressing racially discriminatory marijuana arrest practices; developing municipal-based drug strategies; passing and implementing 911 Good Samaritan legislation; creating a tightly regulated medical marijuana program; and ending mandatory minimums through reforming New York’s Rockefeller Drug Laws. Prior to joining DPA, Mr. Sayegh served as session staff in the Washington State Senate, and worked as a community organizer on campaigns promoting racial equity and economic justice, and ending domestic violence and mass incarceration.
  • George McDonald, founder and president of the Doe Fund, has transformed government policy and the public’s perception of the homeless population. The programs, facilities, and businesses he has created help more than 1,000 formerly homeless and incarcerated individuals each day by empowering them to become fully independent and self-sufficient. He serves as a member of New York City’s Discharge Planning Collaboration, and was recently appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to serve on the newly formed Council on Community Re-Entry and Reintegration
  • Glenn Martin is the founder of JustLeadershipUSA, an organization that aims to cut the U.S. prison population in half by 2030 by elevating the voice of Americans impacted by crime and incarceration, and positioning them as informed, empowered reform partners. Mr. Martin is co-founder of the Education Inside Out Coalition (EIO Coalition). He is a 2011–2012 America’s Leaders of Change National Urban Fellow and a member of the Boards of The College and Community Fellowship and Prisoners Legal Services. He currently serves on a number of New York City and State boards, and has often served as a re-entry and criminal justice policy reform expert on MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, and local media outlets.
  • JoAnne Page has more than 40 years experience in criminal justice, the last 25 of which were at the helm of the Fortune Society, a nonprofit organization that serves and advocates for formerly incarcerated men, women, and teens. The Fortune Society offers more than a dozen programs including mental health and substance abuse treatment, counseling, family services, HIV/AIDS health services, employment services, and housing. A graduate of Yale Law School, Ms. Page is a frequent speaker at conferences about criminal justice programs and issues.
  • Jonathan Gradess is executive director of the New York State Defenders Association (NYSDA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality and scope of public legal representation in New York. Mr. Gradess has worked as a criminal defense lawyer, a private investigator, and a law school professor. He is also executive director of the New York State Defenders Justice Fund and manages its campaign for an Independent Public Defense Commission. Mr. Gradess is the recipient of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Gideon Award and of the New York State Bar Association Criminal Justice Section award for Outstanding Contribution to the Delivery of Defense Services.
  • Kim Gilhuly is a program director at Human Impact Partners (HIP), a nonprofit organization based in Oakland, California. HIP’s mission is to transform the policies and places people need to live healthy lives by increasing the consideration of health and equity in decision-making. Ms. Gilhuly has led HIP’s program with health impact assessments in Wisconsin to address the impact of criminalization on health and expanding treatment alternatives to prison. She has also worked on Proposition 47 in California, a ballot initiative to reclassify specific non-violent, non-serious crimes into mandatory misdemeanors.
  • Liz Gaynes has been the executive director of the Osborne Association for 30 years. During her tenure, the 80-year-old nonprofit has developed and established some of the most innovative and effective programs for people and families involved in the U.S. criminal justice system. Ms. Gaynes was recently named by the White House as a Champion of Change for Children of Incarcerated Parents, recognizing the Osborne Association’s work on behalf of children affected by parental arrest and incarceration. Ms. Gaynes began her career as a criminal defense attorney in Buffalo, representing people incarcerated at Attica during the 1971 prison rebellion, and later worked as a staff attorney for Prisoners Legal Services of New York.
  • Marc Levin is director of the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and policy director for its Right on Crime initiative, which he helped establish in 2010. Mr. Levin has testified before state legislatures more than a hundred times and before Congress on three occasions. His work was recognized by a resolution passed by the Texas House of Representatives, citing his “impeccable research” on criminal justice issues. He has provided advice on criminal justice policy to the president of the United States, members of Congress, and the justice committee of the British House of Parliament.
  • Marc Mauer is one of the country’s leading experts on sentencing policy, race, and the criminal justice system. He is the executive director of the Sentencing Project, a national nonprofit organization engaged in research and advocacy on criminal justice policy. Mr. Mauer has written extensively and testified before Congress and other legislative bodies. He is the author of Race to Incarcerate, and is the co-editor of Invisible Punishment, a collection of essays that examine the social costs of incarceration. Mr. Mauer is the recipient of the Donald Cressey Award for contributions to criminal justice research, the Alfred Lindesmith Award for drug policy scholarship, and the Maud Booth Award for correctional services.
  • Margaret Colgate Love is the associate dean for Community and Minority Affairs at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Fullilove is also a professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences and the co-director of the Cities Research Group. Dr. Fullilove’s expertise is in issues of minority health, with a focus on the social determinants of disease and health. He has served on research and advisory committees for a number of public institutions, including NIH, CDC, National Academy of Sciences, and IOM. Additionally, Dr. Fullilove serves on the editorial boards of the journals Sexually Transmitted Diseases and the Journal of Public Health Policy.
  • Max Kenner is the founder and executive director of the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI). BPI is among the largest and most influential college-in-prison programs in the United States, enrolling 300 students in full academic programs across six prisons in New York State. In addition, BPI collaborates with colleges and universities in 10 other states to establish ambitious college opportunities in prisons across the country. In fall 2014, more than 800 incarcerated students enrolled in college through BPI’s Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison. In addition to his role at BPI, Mr. Kenner also serves as a vice president at Bard College.
  • Nell Bernstein is the author of Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison and All Alone in the World: Children of the Incarcerated, which received a PASS Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. Ms. Bernstein has written for a wide variety of national publications, and was named a Champion of Change by the White House. She coordinates the San Francisco Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership, which advocates for a Bill of Rights for Children of Incarcerated Parents.
  • Peggy McGarry is the director for the Center on Sentencing and Corrections at the Vera Institute of Justice. Prior to joining Vera, Ms. McGarry was the director of criminal justice programs at the JEHT Foundation, and served for more than 20 years as a principal with the Center for Effective Public Policy. Ms. McGarry founded the Philadelphia-based Women Against Abuse, an emergency shelter and legal services program for battered women, and was the first president of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
  • Ravi Ragbir is a New York City immigrant rights activist with the New Sanctuary Movement. He works directly with those who are facing deportation to educate them about their cases and to empower them to struggle against their deportation. He has trained numerous advocates from various immigrant and allied organizations on the impact of immigration policies. Mr. Ragbir has organized Know Your Rights and community forums to educate and empower communities to advocate for the individual, and for fair and humane immigration policies. Mr. Ragbir has first-hand knowledge of these proceedings, as he is facing deportation. He is fighting to remain here with his family, friends, and supporters.
  • Rita Zimmer is founder and executive director of Housing+Solutions, a New York-based program that provides permanent housing for homeless women—single or with families—with substance abuse, mental health disabilities, or criminal justice histories. In 2010, Housing+Solutions opened Drew House, the first family alternative to incarceration programs in the nation.
  • Robert Creamer has been a political organizer and strategist for over four decades, and is the author of Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win. He is a partner in the firm Democracy Partners, and was one of the major architects and organizers of the successful campaign to defeat the privatization of Social Security. He has been a consultant on campaigns to end the war in Iraq, pass universal health care, hold Wall Street accountable, increase the minimum wage, pass progressive budget priorities, enact comprehensive immigration reform, and pass legislation to stem gun violence. He is general consultant to Americans United for Change, where he helped coordinate the campaign to pass President Obama’s landmark jobs and economic recovery legislation.
  • Robert Fullilove is the associate dean for Community and Minority Affairs at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Fullilove is also a professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences and the co-director of the Cities Research Group. Dr. Fullilove’s expertise is in issues of minority health, with a focus on the social determinants of disease and health. He has served on research and advisory committees for a number of public institutions, including NIH, CDC, National Academy of Sciences, and IOM. Additionally, Dr. Fullilove serves on the editorial boards of the journals Sexually Transmitted Diseases and the Journal of Public Health Policy.
  • Soffiyah Elijah is the executive director of the Correctional Association of New York. She is the first woman and the first person of color to lead the nearly 170-year-old organization in its mission to create a fairer and more humane criminal justice system. Ms. Elijah has practiced criminal and family law for more than 30 years. An accomplished advocate, attorney, scholar, and educator, Ms. Elijah has dedicated her life to human rights and social activism, and is a frequent presenter at national and international forums on criminal justice policy and human rights issues.
  • Todd Clear is provost of Rutgers University-Newark. He received a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from the University at Albany. His most recent book is The Punishment Imperative, and he has also written on community justice, correctional classification, prediction methods in correctional programming, community-based correctional methods, intermediate sanctions, and sentencing policy. Dr. Clear was the founding editor of the journal Criminology & Public Policy. He is currently involved in studies of the criminological implications of “place,” and the economics of justice reinvestment. Dr. Clear has served as president of The American Society of Criminology, The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and The Association of Doctoral Programs in Criminology and Criminal Justice.
  • Vincent Schiraldi serves as a senior advisor to the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice in New York City. He works with key city agencies and outside partners to focus on the unique challenges posed by young adults in the NYC criminal justice system. Prior to his current position, Mr. Schiraldi served as the commissioner of the Department of Probation (DOP) in New York City and director of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) for the District of Columbia. Mr. Schiraldi founded the Justice Policy Institute (JPI) and Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ).
  • Vivian Nixon is executive director of College and Community Fellowship (CCF), an organization committed to removing individual and structural barriers to higher education for women with criminal record histories and for their families. She has received many honors and awards, including the John Jay Medal for Justice, the Ascend Fellowship at the Aspen Institute, the Soros Justice Fellowship, and the Petra Foundation Fellowship. She co-founded the Education Inside Out Coalition (EIO), a collaborative effort to increase access to higher education for justice-involved students.