• Teaching about Mass Incarceration

    A 2-day Symposium for NYC Educators sponsored by the United Nations International School and the Pulitzer Center

     

    Saturday, October 27th and Sunday, October 28th, 2018 from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm

    United Nations International School, 24-50 FDR Drive, 10010

     

    FREE

     

    Lunch provided

     

    Spots limited to 40 participants.

  •  

    The UNIS Human Rights Project, in partnership with the Pulitzer Center, is pleased to offer a two-day symposium for educators on how to engage your students in the study of mass incarceration.

     

    Educators will have the opportunity to learn about mass incarceration from those who have experienced it firsthand and from activists and advocates who are at the forefront of criminal justice reform. All of the speakers will be available throughout the school year to come and speak in your classrooms.

     

    Topics of discussion will include: broken windows policing, the War on Drugs, the experiences of women behind bars, solitary confinement, youth detention, racial disparities in the criminal justice system, reentry challenges, why mass incarceration is seen as the new Jim Crow and alternatives to incarceration.

     

    Educators will also have the opportunity to take part in workshops on how to teach about mass incarceration through visual arts, media literacy, ELA, journalism and role play. They will be introduced to “Broken?” an online, multimedia oral history project on mass incarceration featuring personal stories, videos and study guides created by the UNIS Human Rights Project that they can use in their classrooms.

     

    Participants will also connect with education staff from the Pulitzer Center to explore methods for integrating Pulitzer Center reporting on mass incarceration and visits by Pulitzer Center journalists into their curricula.

     

    All will leave with new resources and ideas for engaging their students on the topic of mass incarceration. They will also make important connections with formerly incarcerated people, activists and journalists.

     

    Speakers include: Hernan Carvente, National Youth Partnership Strategist for the Youth First Initiative;

    Evie Litwok, Director of Witness to Mass Incarceration; Khalil Kumberbatch, Associate Vice President of Policy at the Fortune Society; Bob Gangi, Executive Director of the Police Reform Organizing Project and Lewis Webb Jr., Director of the Healing Justice Program at American Friends Service Committee.

     

    Scroll down for a detailed 2-day program.

     

  • Speakers

    Hernan Carvente

    Youth First Initiative

     

    Hernan Carvente is a National Youth Partnership Strategist at Youth First Initiative where he works with youth and young adult activists, ages 15 to 28, who are interested in helping to lead campaigns in their states to close youth prisons and invest in community alternatives. He also served as a Program Analyst for the Center on Youth Justice at the Vera Institute of Justice where he worked on improving conditions of confinement, including efforts to support the incorporation of youth voices in facility-based and statewide juvenile justice policy reform.

     

    Hernan graduated from the CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a degree in criminal justice.

     

    His goal to reform the structure of the U.S. criminal justice system stems from his own experiences in the juvenile justice system. He spent four years incarcerated in a maximum juvenile facility in New York State followed by two years on parole. Hernan has won several awards for his work.

     

     

    Khalil Cumberbatch

    Fortune Society

     

    Khalil A. Cumberbatch currently serves as Associate Vice President of Policy at the Fortune Society, a reentry organization whose goal is to build people and not prisons.

     

    He previously served as Manager of Training at JustLeadershipUSA, a national non-profit dedicated to cutting the US correctional population in half by year 2030. He is also a lecturer at Columbia University School of Social Work.

     

    Khalil spent six and a half years in the prison system and five months in immigration detention. In December 2014, he was one of two recipients to receive an executive pardon from NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo to prevent his deportation from the United States.

    Evie Litwok

    Witness to Incarceration

     

    Evie Litwok describes herself as a Formerly Incarcerated Aging New York Jewish Lesbian Feminist & Child of Two survivors of the Holocaust.

     

    She is the Founder and Director of Witness to Mass Incarceration, a digital library of first-hand in-depth interviews with formerly incarcerated women and men.

     

    Evie was incarcerated in two Federal Women’s prisons, both while in her 60s. She has first hand knowledge of what its like to lose your freedom and your family. She walked out of prison homeless and penniless.

     

    Evie was a Leading with Conviction Leader

    in the 2015 inaugural class of JustLeadershipUSA . She is also a member of

    the Federal Criminal Justice LGBT Working Group and the NYC Jail Action Committee (JAC), whose mission is to eliminate solitary confinement in New York City jails.

    Lewis Webb Jr.

    American Friends Service Committee

     

    Lewis Webb, Jr. serves as the Director of the Healing Justice Program in the American Friends Service Committees New York Office. After graduating from law school, Lewis dedicated his entire professional career to criminal justice issues. Before joining AFSC, he worked with the District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, NY, and the New York City Department of Corrections. He also taught criminal justice, jurisprudence and criminal law at various colleges and universities.

     

    At AFSC, Lewis focuses his work on decreasing New York’s prison population by mitigating paths to incarceration and increasing opportunities for release through sentencing and parole reform. He is widely recognized as an expert on the school-to-prison pipeline, barriers to successful reentry, engaging communities of faith and cultivating young activists.

    Robert Gangi

    Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP)

    Bob Gangi has been an activist, community organizer and public policy advocate in New York City for over 40 years. Before he founded the Police Reform Organizing Project in April 2011, he served as Executive Director of the Correctional Association for over 29 years. He is a recognized expert on criminal justice and law enforcement issues with a particular focus on police and prison concerns.

     

    Bob hosts a weekly radio talk show, Justice Matters with Bob Gangi, which airs on WBAI, a public radio station in NYC -- 99.5 on your dial, on Tuesday evenings from 5 to 6PM. On the show, Bob hosts a back & forth with justice advocates & experts on the key issues of the day.

     

    In 2012, Bob was the recipient of the American Ethical Union’s prestigious Elliott-Black Award, acknowledging his enduring dedication to the rights of vulnerable people caught up in the criminal justice system and his life’s work fighting for sweeping prison and police reform.

  • DAY 1 PROGRAM

     

    9:00am Registration and Breakfast

     

     

    9:30am Welcome from the UNIS Human Rights Project and Pulitzer Center and Warm Up

     

     

    10:15am Workshop 1

     

    “What does a teenager have to do to be treated like an adult in the US? Commit a Crime"

     

    The US incarcerates nearly 50,000 youth within its juvenile justice system. Youth of color make up a disproportionate number of those incarcerated, despite studies that show that they commit roughly the same level of juvenile crime as white youth. Black youth are 5 times more likely to be incarcerated than white youth, Native American youth are 3.2 times as likely and Latino youth are almost twice as likely. Incarcerated youth often experience dangerous facility conditions such as physical and chemical restraints, high suicide risk, sexual and physical abuse, and solitary confinement. Studies have shown that well-designed community programs are more likely to reduce recidivism and improve youth well-being than juvenile detention.

     

    This workshop will be led by Hernan Carvente, National Youth Partnership Strategist at Youth First. Hernan went from being a "gang-banging, illiterate, angry Latino Kid to a college graduate and advocate of criminal justice reform." He will speak of his fours years in a juvenile facility and of his work today to close youth prisons.

     

     

    11:00am Coffee Break

     

     

    11:15am Workshop 2

    • "Meet the Crows"

    From policing, to jail, to trial, to sentencing, to prison, to post-prison experiences, the disparate impacts of laws and policies on poor people and people of color in the U.S. have been well documented. These disparities are not by accident, nor a symptom of poverty or poor choices, but rather evidence of a new racial caste system at work, according to Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Like Jim Crow laws and slavery before it, mass incarceration operates like a caste system. It uses the law to discriminate and stigmatize a certain group of people, defined largely by race and class, and locks them into a permanent second-class status.

     

    This interactive workshop will be led by Lewis Webb Jr., Healing Justice Program Coordinator at the American Friends Service Committee NYC. Participants will be asked to engage in roleplaying activities that explore yesterday’s Jim Crow South and how it has morphed into today’s new Jim Crow. Participants and observers alike will be tasked with envisioning action responses that promote lasting peace and social justice, in direct contradiction to racism, punishment paradigms and mass incarceration.
     
    • "Broken Windows Policing" 

    Broken windows policing has been a major driver of mass incarceration. Broken windows policing is based on the theory that cracking down on minor offenses in urban environments will decrease rates of violent crime by creating a sense of order and authority. In New York City, “fixing broken windows” took the form of arresting hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers for minor violations. In 2015, the highest category of NYPD arrests was for fare evasion: there were over 29,000 cases with 92% involving people of color. While the former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton argued that the NYPD “targets behavior, not communities of color,” critics of broken windows policing argue that it leads to racial discrimination and profiling.

     

    This workshop will be led by Bob Gangi, Founder and Executive Director of the Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP). It will focus on the discriminatory and abusive practices of the NYPD that routinely and disproportionately fuel the incarceration of people of color from New York City's low-income communities.

     

     

    12:15pm Lunch

     

     

    1:00pm Workshop 3

    • "Meet the Crows"

    From policing, to jail, to trial, to sentencing, to prison, to post-prison experiences, the disparate impacts of laws and policies on poor people and people of color in the U.S. have been well documented. These disparities are not by accident, nor a symptom of poverty or poor choices, but rather evidence of a new racial caste system at work, according to Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Like Jim Crow laws and slavery before it, mass incarceration operates like a caste system. It uses the law to discriminate and stigmatize a certain group of people, defined largely by race and class, and locks them into a permanent second-class status.

     

    This interactive workshop will be led by Lewis Webb Jr., Healing Justice Program Coordinator at the American Friends Service Committee NYC. Participants will be asked to engage in roleplaying activities that explore yesterday’s Jim Crow South and how it has morphed into today’s new Jim Crow. Participants and observers alike will be tasked with envisioning action responses that promote lasting peace and social justice, in direct contradiction to racism, punishment paradigms and mass incarceration.

     

    • "Broken Windows Policing"
    Broken windows policing has been a major driver of mass incarceration. Broken windows policing is based on the theory that cracking down on minor offenses in urban environments will decrease rates of violent crime by creating a sense of order and authority. In New York City, “fixing broken windows” took the form of arresting hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers for minor violations. In 2015, the highest category of NYPD arrests was for fare evasion: there were over 29,000 cases with 92% involving people of color. While the former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton argued that the NYPD “targets behavior, not communities of color,” critics of broken windows policing argue that it leads to racial discrimination and profiling.
     
    This workshop will be led by Bob Gangi, Founder and Executive Director of the Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP). It will focus on the discriminatory and abusive practices of the NYPD that routinely and disproportionately fuel the incarceration of people of color from New York City's low-income communities.

     

     

    2:00pm: Coffee break
     
     
    2:10pm: Workshop 4
     
    • "Life Before and After Prison"

    It only takes one day to understand what it means to lose your freedom. In prison that understanding becomes an experience that is harsh, anguishing, and unforgiving. It changes you physically, mentally and emotionally. A person has to find the coping skills that most people will never need to employ. Then, when you return to the “Free World,” you know and feel different because prison is a life-changing experience. The key to understanding the post-prison experience is to understand what it means to survive the in-prison experience.

     

    This will be a conversation with Khalil Cumberbatch, Associate Vice President of Policy at the Fortune Society, a reentry organization whose goal is to build people and not prisons. Khalil will speak about the six and a half years he spent in prison, the five months he spent in immigration detention and about his work today to reform the criminal justice system.

     
    3:10pm: Final Debrief

     

  • DAY 2 PROGRAM

     

    9:00am Breakfast and Warm Up

     

     

    9:15am Workshop 1

     

    "The Experiences of Women in Prison and in Solitary Confinement"

     

    Women make up 9% of the US prison population. Over 200,000 women are incarcerated. 65% of incarcerated women are mothers of minor children, and half are incarcerated over one hundred miles away from their families. The majority of women in prison have a history of abuse, poverty, drug dependency and mental illness and once inside prison, most continue to face inhumane and degrading treatment. Several human rights organizations have documented widespread misconduct by male correctional staff against women inmates, including: sexually offensive language, sexual assault, searches involving inappropriate touching, and male staff watching while they are naked. Fear of retaliation prevents the majority from reporting the abuse.

     

    This will be a conversation with Evie Litwok, Founder and Director of Witness to Mass Incarceration. Evie describes herself as a Formerly Incarcerated Aging New York Jewish Lesbian Feminist & Child of Two survivors of the Holocaust. She was incarcerated in two federal women’s prisons, both while in her 60s. She will speak of the abuse that women experience in prison and of the trauma that continues once they are released.

     

     

    10:15am Coffee Break

     

     

    10:30am Teaching Ideas Workshop 1 (Select one)

    • "Mass Incarceration in the Corporate Media" by Simin Minou, Education Director at Democracy Now!

    The United States locks up more people, per capita, than any other nation. Over 2 million people are incarcerated in the US prison system. This population is found in county jails, immigrant detention facilities, maximum security prisons, military prisons, jails in Indian Country, state and federal prisons. How do we find out about what is going on in this system of incarceration if we don’t happen to be a criminal justice professional or involved in criminal activity in some capacity? If we agree that most of us receive information solely from mass-mediated representations, the power as well as the responsibility of the media becomes very important and worth examining critically. To do so we have to look at how selective framing of the issue works in impacting public judgment and opinion.

     

    In this session, we will examine and discuss how the corporate media contribute to the formation of opinion around the issue of mass incarceration and what alternatives there are to the corporate model. Educators will also learn about Democracy Now! resources and how they may organize a class visit to the Democracy Now! Studio to have their students witness the production of our live news broadcast.

    • "Creating Visual Art Using the Testimonies of Formerly Incarcerated People and Activists" with Marc Smith, UNIS Art Instructor

    This workshop will give participants the chance to explore creative ways to use the testimonies of formerly incarcerated people and activists working on reform as an inspiration for artworks. Participants will read and discuss statements written by the formerly incarcerated speakers and collaborate to create art. They will learn about the work of current artists that use text in their art to communicate a political or social message. We will work quickly and to a large scale, combining painting with digital skills. No previous skills or knowledge is required, just a positive attitude and an open mind.

     

    • "Introduction to Broken? An Online Multimedia Oral History Project and Curriculum on Mass Incarceration" with Abby MacPhail
    In this workshop, educators will be introduced to Broken? an online photo exhibit and oral history project on mass incarceration created by the UNIS Human Rights Project. The project features background information on 20 themes related to mass incarceration, personal photos, stories, videos and study guides. Teachers will explore ways to use the resources in their classes, including in a role play, a mock trial and in essay writing.
     
     
    11:30am Teaching Ideas Workshop 2 (Select one)
    • "Mass Incarceration in the Corporate Media" by Simin Minou, Education Director at Democracy Now!

    The United States locks up more people, per capita, than any other nation. Over 2 million people are incarcerated in the US prison system. This population is found in county jails, immigrant detention facilities, maximum security prisons, military prisons, jails in Indian Country, state and federal prisons. How do we find out about what is going on in this system of incarceration if we don’t happen to be a criminal justice professional or involved in criminal activity in some capacity? If we agree that most of us receive information solely from mass-mediated representations, the power as well as the responsibility of the media becomes very important and worth examining critically. To do so we have to look at how selective framing of the issue works in impacting public judgment and opinion.

     

    In this session, we will examine and discuss how the corporate media contribute to the formation of opinion around the issue of mass incarceration and what alternatives there are to the corporate model. Educators will also learn about Democracy Now! resources and how they may organize a class visit to the Democracy Now! Studio to have their students witness the production of our live news broadcast.

    • "Creating Visual Art Using the Testimonies of Formerly Incarcerated People and Activists" with Marc Smith, UNIS
    This workshop will give participants the chance to explore creative ways to use the testimonies of formerly incarcerated people and activists working on reform as an inspiration for artworks. Participants will read and discuss statements written by the formerly incarcerated speakers and collaborate to create art. They will learn about the work of current artists that use text in their art to communicate a political or social message. We will work quickly and to a large scale, combining painting with digital skills. No previous skills or knowledge is required, just a positive attitude and an open mind.
     
    • "Introduction to Broken? An Online Photo Exhibit and Oral History Project on Mass Incarceration" with Abby MacPhail, UNIS Human Rights Project
    In this workshop, educators will be introduced to Broken? an online photo exhibit and oral history project on mass incarceration created by the UNIS Human Rights Project. The project features background information on 20 themes related to mass incarceration, personal photos, stories, videos and study guides. Teachers will explore ways to use the resources in their classes, including in a role play, a mock trial and in essay writing.
     
     

    12:30pm Lunch

     

     

    1:30pm Teaching Idea Workshop 3

     

    "Incarceration in the News: Seeking and Telling Under-reported Stories" with Hannah Berk and Fareed Mostoufi, Pulitzer Center

     

    How do we form our ideas about incarceration? What stories do we see and which do we miss? In this Pulitzer Center workshop, we will explore recent reporting on incarceration in the U.S. and around the globe. We will look beyond the headlines to consider where and who our news comes from, and how good journalism can help communicate the under-reported stories of incarcerated people in a way that connects with diverse audiences and encourages action.

     

    Through text, photo, and video exploration and interactive exercises, we will identify practical ways to bring more diverse stories into our news routines and consider how we can use journalism skills ourselves to share important information with our communities.

     

    2:30pm: UNIS Human Rights Project Student Presentation on Criminal Justice Reforms and Alternatives to Incarceration

     

     

    2:45pm Final Debrief and Next Steps

     

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