Experts to Discuss Dismantling Mass Incarceration in Cary Oct. 1

September 17, 2015 11:30 am

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CARY – Criminal justice experts from North Carolina and around the nation will gather in Cary on October 1 for a daylong symposium dedicated to exploring and identifying strategies to reduce or eliminate mass incarceration and its devastating impact on American communities.

While composing only 5 percent of the global population, the United States currently houses 25 percent of the world’s prison population. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, over 6.89 million people in the United States are in jails, prisons, and under other forms of adult correctional control, and this population is characterized by extreme racial disparities. Symposium participants will identify the role that legal organizations and members of the public can play in supporting criminal justice reforms aimed at reducing or eliminating mass incarceration and its harmful consequences.

What: Understanding and Dismantling Mass Incarceration: What Solutions Exist for North Carolina? Speakers at this Symposium will discuss the history of mass incarceration, factors exacerbating the phenomenon, the economics of the mass incarceration, and strategies for achieving real criminal justice reform in North Carolina.

Who: The symposium will include prominent voices on mass incarceration including:

  • Professor Heather Ann Thompson, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Former Texas Representative Jerry Madden, Right on Crime
  • Nicole Porter, The Sentencing Project

The symposium will also feature practitioners and experts from the UNC School of Law, Durham County District Court, Wake Forest University School of Law, American University College of Law, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Fayetteville Police Department, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, the American Civil Liberties Union, and more.

When: Thursday, October 1, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Reception to follow 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Where: North Carolina Bar Association, 8000 Weston Pkwy Cary, NC 27513

“There is a growing bipartisan consensus that it is time to rethink our society’s approach to criminal justice and incarceration. At this critical moment in the criminal justice reform movement, it is time to develop a comprehensive strategy for addressing mass incarceration in North Carolina,” said James E. Williams, Jr., Chief Public Defender for District 15B and Chair of the Mass Incarceration Symposium Planning Committee. “This symposium will enable the establishment of a North Carolina coalition dedicated to dismantling mass incarceration and its devastating impact on individuals, families, communities, and our democracy.”

Panelist and Senior Fellow at Right on Crime, Jerry Madden agrees, saying “Criminal Justice reform, including the dismantling of mass incarceration, is not a partisan issue but one that effects people from every walk of life in every community. The cost of mass incarceration, in both dollars and in human lives, is an issue that effects every political party and philosophy. In this symposium we will talk about how Criminal Justice reform will continue and grow.”

The symposium will be hosted by the North Carolina Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System (NC-CRED). Cosponsors include the ACLU of North Carolina; the NC Advocates for Justice; the NC Bar Association; the NC Public Defender Association; the Southern Coalition for Social Justice; and Tin Fulton Walker & Owen, PLLC.

For more information or to register, visit

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