Criminal justice reform leaders, activists, and formerly incarcerated individuals came together in Washington D.C. at a powerful event—spearheaded by reform group #cut50 in tandem with Mother Jones—to talk about the state of the criminal justice system in the United States and what’s next for the reform movement.
You can watch the full video here.
Hosted by Van Jones, co-founder of #cut50 and CEO of the REFORM Alliance, panelists and allies shared their personal experiences with the criminal justice system and how it can be improved upon to provide better rehabilitation, dignity and tools for reentry for incarcerated individuals.
“The idea to me—an African American man who’s been on the front lines fighting this my entire adult life—that either of these parties have been anything but mass incarceration parties until very recently is a lie,” said Van Jones, on the bipartisan efforts on criminal justice reform.
“For those women that I left behind, I was so happy to be able to give them something to know that nobody else would have to experience what I did,” said Pamela Winn, who lost her unborn child after being shackled in prison and helped pass Georgia’s Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act.
“To sit there and think about the possibility of never seeing my family or never having freedom, it didn’t sit right. It was painful,” said Lonnie Jones, a First Step Act recipient who once faced a life sentence in prison.
“I could be talking to one person or 7,000 people but having an audience of anybody who cares about what it means to want people to not be incarcerated is significant,” said Reginald Dwayne Betts, poet and author, on the state of our criminal justice system.