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Too Many Americans in Prison

TOO MANY AMERICANS IN PRISON -- A New England Regional Criminal Justice Summit

A Regional Criminal Justice Summit

Sponsored by:
The Massachusetts Justice Network Arise for Social Justice Massachusetts Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE)
New Hampshire Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants New England Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM)
Foundation for Drug Policy Awareness/Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
American Friends Service Committee New England

Criminal Justice Program Criminal justice reformers across New England face similar issues: state three-strikes legislation, the proliferation of control units, and mandatory sentencing. Advocates, prisoners, family members and concerned individuals must come together to stem the tide of vengeance that is sweeping the country. The much-touted war on crime has become a war on prisoners and a war on the poor. Only a large-scale political mobilization of prisoner families, affected communities, grass roots groups, and concerned individuals can keep New England from entirely abandoning the criminal justice reforms achieved by prisoners and activists during the 1970s.

On April 22, 1995, the Regional Summit Planning Committee of the Massachusetts Justice Network will sponsor a one day regional criminal justice summit entitled "Too Many Americans in Prison." The committee expects this gathering at the American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts, to draw 300 to 400 participants from across New England. The summit's target audience is prisoner family members, low income people, and members of grass roots criminal justice reform groups. There are any number of conferences given across the country for those employed in the field of criminal justice and those schooled in corrections policy. "Too Many Americans in Prison" seeks to mobilize those who are often overlooked by other gatherings.

Summit Highlights and Events Schedule 

8:00- 9:00              Registration (coffee and pastry served) 

9:00-10:00              Opening assembly 

10:00-11:00             Meetings of Organizations (FAMM, CURE etc.) 

11:00-12:00             Workshop session I 

12:00- 1:00             Lunch/informal networking 

1:00- 2:30              Press conference/direct action 

2:30- 3:30              Workshop session II 

3:30- 3:45              Break 

3:45- 4:45              Workshop session III

4:45- 5:15              Final plenary session 

Keynote Speakers:

Michael Zinzun is a former Black Panther and a founding member of the Coalition Against Police Abuse. He produced the award winning video "State of Emergency: Inside the L.A.P.D." Mr. Zinzun currently works with Community in Support of the Gang Truce. He has been active for over twenty years in the Southern Africa Support Community.

Marc Mauer, Assistant Director of the Sentencing Project, Washington, D.C., has directed programs on criminal justice reform for twenty years. He is the author of some of the most widely cited reports in the field of criminal justice, including "Young Black Men in the Criminal Justice System" and the "Americans Behind Bars" series.


Session I

I-1 A Conversation with Abu Hanif Abdal-Khallaq. An interactive discussion with Abu-Hanif, a former Massachusetts prison superintendent and a nationally known progressive in the field of corrections management and policy.

I-2 The Real Drug Debate: Harm Reduction vs. Prohibition. A comparison of U.S. drug policy with successful European models that treat drugs as a public health problem.

I-3 Police Abuse/Excessive Force. A presentation by family members of Cristino Hernandez who was killed in Worcester, MA, and Ben Scofield who was killed in Springfield, MA. The session will be moderated by Alice Kidder of the Worcester Rainbow Coalition and Nancy Lyman-Shaver of Arise for Social Justice.

I-4 The Criminal Justice System: What Families Can Do. An hour of practical organizing and advocacy techniques for families of prisoners led by Andrea Strong of Indiana FAMM and Nancy Brown of New England FAMM.

Session II
II-1 Dealing with Crack Cocaine, Prohibition's Most Profitable Product.

II-2 Community Reintegration for Prisoners. Abu Hanif Abdal-Khallaq

II-3 Racism in the Criminal Justice System. David Rogers, Arise for Social Justice

II-4 Youth & Gangs. Michael Zinzun and Kara Bianco-Williamson, Arise for Social Justice

II-5 Using the Media and Technology. John Treat, and David Borden, Foundation for Drug Policy Awareness/Drug Reform Coordination Network

II-6 Mandatory Minimum Sentences & Alternatives. Nancy Brown, New England FAMM and Andrea Strong, IN FAMM.

Session III
III-1 Reconsidering Cannabis. With Dr. Lester Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School and others

III-2 Restorative Justice. Dr. William Manseau, New Hamshire CURE

III-3 Lifers and Long Termers Issues. Jill Brotman, AFSC and Wendell Brown, Lifelong CURE

III-4 Police Community Review Boards. The Honorable Benjamin Swan, Massachusetts State Representative

III-5 Prospects for Public Defense. Mickey Harris, Mass Committee for Public Counsel Services

III-6 Youth Issues in the '94 Federal Crime Bill. Kara Bianco-Williamson, Arise for Social Justice Registration Form (print and mail or use format for e-mail)


Workshop Choices
Session I:
Session II:
Session III:
Registration + Lunch ($15)
Registration only ($10)
Low income, including lunch ($5) ___ Total $____________


Return to:
Too Many Americans in Prison
c/o American Friends Service Committee
2161 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02140

E-MAIL: [email protected]

For information,
call John Treat of AFSC at 617/283-6436
or Nancy Lyman-Shaver of Arise at 413/734-4948

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