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Over the past 30 years there has been a virtual explosion in the prison population in the United States. According to New Yorker Magazine's Adam Gopnik, the growth is unparalleled in human history. He states, "The scale and the brutality of our prisons are the moral scandal of American life" adding that the U.S. prison system has more Americans locked up than were imprisoned in Stalin's Gulag.

Working Toward Restorative Justice—Sharon Kyle

Working Toward Restorative Justice—Sharon Kyle

Fifty years ago, the United States had an incarceration rate that was pretty much on par with other similarly situated nations like the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Canada, and Spain. For 200 years, the U.S. incarceration rate was stable. Then suddenly and dramatically the rate skyrocketed. Michelle Alexander, famed author of The New Jim Crow, outlines how and why this happened. In short, the unprecedented growth was primarily due to the failed war on drugs, coupled with "tough on crime" policies, many of whose proponents benefit politically by embracing the "lock 'em up" approach, pushing for more punitive measures.

In July of 2015, President Obama toured the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma. He was the first sitting U.S. President to visit a federal prison. During that same month, Obama also called for an end to the practice of solitary confinement for juveniles, openly declaring that the criminal justice system in the United States is broken.

“The Restorative Justice Vote” will convene attorneys, social justice activists, law enforcement professionals, and policymakers in advance of the election.

Although we claim that rehabilitation is the goal when incarcerating offenders, evidence such as the soaring recidivism rates suggests that our prison policies have abandoned the idea of rehabilitation and focus entirely on punishment. Those who advocate for a more humane approach maintain that our current system reduces public safety and serves as a training ground for crime. Some even liken it to a type of "college" for criminals.

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Restorative Justice—a growing social movement to institutionalize peaceful approaches to harm, problem-solving and violations of legal and human rights—focuses on the needs of the victims and the offenders, as well as involving the community. It is an alternative to the punitive measures currently in place in our criminal justice system. And it is the focus of an upcoming event in Los Angeles called the Restorative Justice Vote.

In response to the tumultuous political climate in the United States and uncertain future of hard-fought reforms to criminal justice law, Ollin Law, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit law firm based in Los Angeles, is pleased to announce “The Restorative Justice Vote,” a one-day conference in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday, October 19, that will convene attorneys, social justice activists, law enforcement professionals, and policymakers in advance of the November 8th election.

LA Progressive is the media sponsor for this event and is encouraging all readers to attend. The LA Progressive has been given a special discount rate to pass on to our readers. Using the promo code LAP50 will get you 50% off for all Attorney or General Admission tickets.

Sharon Kyle 2013

The registration link:

Sharon Kyle
Publisher, LA Progressive