Disrupting the Cycle: Reforming Reentry

Friday, April 7, 2017

NYU’s Center on the Administration of Criminal Law hosted its ninth annual criminal law conference entitled “Disrupting the Cycle: Reforming Reentry.” This Conference examined how institutional actors currently approach reentry issues, how formerly incarcerated individuals experience their reentry back to society after serving time, and the best ideas for reforming this process to facilitate individuals’ successful reentry and lower recidivism rates.

This event was approved for 5 CLE credits in the Areas of Professional Practice and was appropriate for both newly admitted and experienced attorneys.

Listen to the conference here

Keynote Address by Glenn Martin, Founder and President, JustLeadershipUSA
Featured Speaker: Preet Bharara, Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY

First Panel: A Look Inside the System: Decisionmakers Explain Their Roles

Moderator: Amy Solomon, Former Executive Director of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, U.S. Department of Justice

Panelists:

  • Kenyen Brown, Former U.S. Attorney, Southern District of Alabama
  • Judge Dora Irizarry, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • Wendy Still, Chief Probation Officer, Alameda County
  • Wilfredo Torres, Chief U.S. Probation Officer, U.S. District Court, District of NJ
  • Jason Williamson, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project

The first panel analyzed what key actors in the system are currently doing when it comes to reentry with a group of individuals who have thought extensively about their respective institutional roles in this process.  In particular, this panel considered how early decisions about bail, pretrial detention, and charging can later influence reentry and recidivism.  It also explored the relationship between sentencing and reentry, and the role that probation officers play in preparing individuals for life after terms of confinement.  In addition to considering how the typical case proceeds, we also discussed alternatives to incarceration and specialized courts as a way to deal with these issues.  This panel additionally discussed collateral consequences of convictions and how these various institutional actors can (or cannot) affect whether those consequences will apply in particular cases.
 

Second Panel: Beyond the Bars: Formerly Incarcerated People Share Their Views

Moderator: Susan Champion, Staff Attorney, Three Strikes Project, Stanford Law School

Panelists:

  • Ptah Amen, Motivational Speaker
  • Teresa Hodge, Director of Innovation & Strategy, Mission: Launch, Inc.
  • Johnny Perez, Safe Reentry Advocate, Urban Justice Center
  • Antonio Rivera, Senior Director of Alternatives to Incarceration Programs, Fortune Society
  • Theresa Sweeney, 2016 JustleadershipUSA Fellow

The second panel analyzed the same issues from the perspective of the people directly affected.  This panel of formerly incarcerated individuals was led through a discussion of the issues.  Four of the five speakers – Teresa Hodge, Johnny Perez, Antonio Rivera, and Theresa Sweeney – not only brought the perspective of their own reentry experiences, but also shared their experiences working on these issues from the other side as individuals at the center of reentry reform efforts.  Ptah Amen was recently released from Otisville, a state facility in NY, in August of 2015, so he offered a recent example of the reentry highs and lows. He has spoken to other student groups about these experiences. 


Third Panel: The Way Forward: The Policy Innovators Who Are Reforming Reentry

Moderator: Jeremy Travis, President, John Jay College of Criminal Law

Panelists:

  • Molly Baldwin, Founder & CEO, Roca
  • Adam Foss, President and Co-Founder of Prosecutor Impact
  • Ali Knight, Chief Operating Office, Fresh Lifelines for Youth
  • Julio Medina, Executive Director, Founder, and CEO, Exodus Transitional Community, Inc.
  • Sam Schaeffer, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, Center for Employment Opportunities
  • Bruce Western, Professor of Sociology, Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice Policy, Harvard

The third and final panel explored the best ideas for improving reentry.  It brought together a distinguished panel of experts to address these topics.