• Broken?

    T1 Symposium on Mass Incarceration in the USA


    Thursday, March 7th and Friday, March 8th, 2019

    United Nations International School



      The US has just less than 5% of the world’s population, but over 20% of its prisoners. There are over 2 million people behind bars but the number of people under the control of the criminal justice system increases to 6.6 million when those on probation and parole are included. Over 70 million Americans have criminal records, the same number as Americans who have four-year college degrees.

      • How did it get to be this way? How did the US become the world's largest jailer?
      • Is the US criminal justice system broken or is doing exactly what it was designed to do?
      • Can a system that was designed by men who did not believe that everyone was equal, be just? And if not, how do we change it?

      On day 1 of this event, T1 students will have the chance to discuss these questions with formerly incarcerated people, activists, and advocates who are at the forefront of criminal justice reform. On day 2, they will also have the opportunity to explore mass incarceration through theatre, journalism, art, documentary and advocacy.


    • Speakers

      Evie Litwok

      Witness to Mass 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.

      K. Bain

      696 Build Queensbridge


      K. Bain is the founder and director of 696 Build Queensbridge, which over the past 3 years has established itself as one of New York City's most effective Cure Violence sites with unprecedented results in violence interruption activities and mediation endeavors.


      K. Bain served as a New York City Director of legislation and budget affairs for the 45th Council district in Brooklyn. In this role,

      he was instrumental in the drafting the Community Safety Act, landmark legislation aimed at increasing police accountability, creating better community police relations and safer streets.

      K. Bain's passion for the arts, human justice and community capacity development remain at the forefront of his priorities. Whether working with the” highest risk” or criminal justice involved youth or students in universities, K. Bain is committed to serving the many who find themselves faced with the systemic obstacles obstructing the sustainable growth and development of our most underserved communities.

      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.

      Gregory Joseph

      National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty


      Gregory Joseph serves as the Communications Director for the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Focusing on the key issues surrounding the death penalty including racial bias, innocence, and economic implications, Gregory works with the NCADP team to educate the public and mobilize change.


      Prior to NCADP, Gregory served as a Director in the New York City office of the Washington, DC-based communications firm, Spitfire Strategies. He also spent 15 years working as a political strategist.


      Gregory appears regularly on SiriusXM Radio and his writing has appeared in Time, The Nation, Alternet, Colorlines and the Black Star News.

      Hernan Carvente

      Youth First


      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.

    • T1 PROGRAM - DAY 1




      8:20am-10:30am Attendance in Advisory Groups and Viewing of the documentary "13th" (Classrooms on the 5th floor)


      10:30am-10:50am Break


      10:50am-11:50am Workshop Session 1 (Scroll down for detailed descriptions of each workshop)

      11:50am-12:50am Workshop Session 2

      12:50pm-2:00pm Lunch


      2:00pm-3:00pm Debrief and Thank You Letters to Speakers (advisory classrooms on the 5th floor)

    • Day 1 Workshops

      Session 1: 10:50am-11:50am

      Session 2: 11:50am-12:50pm



      Women make up 9.8% of the total US prison population. In 2016, the number of females held in jails and prisons stood at 213,722, an increase of more than 700% since 1980. The majority of women have been imprisoned for nonviolent offenses and have histories of physical and sexual abuse, poverty and addiction. Once inside prison, they 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 session will be led by Evie Litwok. Evie describes herself as a "Formerly Incarcerated, Aging, New York, Jewish, Lesbian, Feminist and 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 has been in prison twice, both while in her 60s. She will speak about the trauma and abuse that women experience in prison and once out.



      Ending mass incarceration in the US requires finding more effective ways of dealing with violence. In 2015, 54% of state prisoners were serving sentences for violent offenses. Research shows that prisons fail to transform those who have committed violence or protect those who have been harmed. Part of the failure lies in the fact that incarceration treats violence as a problem of individual pathology instead of as a problem of social context and history. Violence is driven by poverty, inequality, lack of opportunity, shame, isolation, and like a public health epidemic, violence itself drives violence.


      Cure Violence treats violence like a contagious disease and aims to stop it by treating it in the same manner as a public health crisis: by interrupting transmission of the disease, reducing the risk of those at highest risk, and changing community norms. Today the program is in operation in 15 US cities, including at 18 sites in NYC. In 2015, Cure Violence began operating in Queensbridge public housing, known as some of the most violent public housing in New York City. After the program began, Queensbridge went over 365 days without a shooting.


      This workshop will be led by K. Bain, the Founder and Director of 696 Build Queensbridge, which over the past 3 years has established itself as New York City's most effective Cure Violence site with unprecedented results in violence interruption activities and mediation endeavors.



      Broken windows policing is based on the theory that cracking down on minor offenses in urban environments decreases serious 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.


      Critics of broken windows policing argue that it leads to racial discrimination and profiling. Its defenders argue that the NYPD “targets behavior, not communities of color” and that broken windows policing is the main reason for the drop in crime. But a 2016 report by the Investigation Office of the Inspector General for the New York City Police Department, which analyzed NYPD summons and arrest data from 2010 to 2015, found no direct link between an increase in misdemeanor arrests and a related drop in felony crime.


      This session will be led by Robert Gangi of the Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP). Using research, public education and policy advocacy, PROP aims to expose and end the current ineffective, unjust, discriminatory and racially biased, practices of the NYPD.​

      The DEATH PENALTY - 501

      According to Amnesty International, over 993 people, in 23 countries, were subjected to the death penalty in 2017. The majority of executions took place in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan, but 23 people, from 8 states in the US, were also among those who were executed. In 2018, the number increased slightly to 25 and thus far in 2019, 2 people have been executed in the US. Since 1976, there have been a total of 1492 death penalty executions in the US. Despite the numerous studies showing that the death penalty is racially biased, claims innocent lives and is not a deterrent to crime, it is legal in 30 US states and there are currently 2728 people on death row.


      This session will be led by Gregory Joseph of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty is the nation's oldest organization dedicated exclusively to the abolition of the death penalty.

    • T1 PROGRAM - DAY 2

      FRIDAY, MARCH 8th


      8:20am-8:25am Attendance in Advisory Classrooms (on the 5th floor)


      8:30am-3:00pm Exploring Mass Incarceration through the Arts and Advocacy 

      (scroll down for detailed descriptions of each workshop)

      • DOCUMENTARY FILM MAKING with the UNIS Film Department 
      • THEATRE with the UNIS Theatre Department and Ping Chong + Company (Black Box)

      • PODCASTING with Indy Kids (LCR)

      • VISUAL ARTS with ARTE (Art Room)

      • ROLE PLAY + ADVOCACY + ART on Racism in the Criminal Justice System with AFSC and ARTE (419-420)


    • Day 2 Activities




      In this workshop, you will learn the basics of documentary film making. You will begin the day by analyzing the documentary film 13th and then learn how to generate questions and conduct an interview, and use camera and sound equipment. The day will culminate with students working in crews, using sound and camera equipment, to interview an expert on race and the criminal justice system and a formerly incarcerated person, both of whom are working to end mass incarceration.


      This day-long workshop will be led by Sandra Lipkind and David DiGregorio from the UNIS Film Department.



      In this workshop, you will devise theater pieces from interviews & personal stories of formerly incarcerated people. Ping Chong + Company artists will lead you through the process of adapting personal stories and first-person interviews into dynamic and moving theatrical pieces. Using text, movement, and transition techniques that the company has refined for its "Undesirable Elements" performance series, you will transform stories into art.


      This day-long workshop will be led by Kiara Downey from the UNIS Theatre Department and representatives from Ping Chong + Company. "Ping Chong + Company produces theatrical works addressing the important cultural and civic issues of our times."



      In this workshop, you will be introduced to the basics of podcasting.You will learn interview techniques and how to write, record and edit a podcast script. The day will culminate with you recording an interview with an expert on mass incarceration and then using it to create a podcast. Podcasts may be published on the UNIS Human Rights Project blog or on the IndyKids website.


      This session will be led by IndyKids. Their mission "is to engage young people to become informed world citizens through the production of a current events and social justice news source that is created by kids, for kids."



      This interactive workshop will focus on the visual arts, human rights and the criminal justice system. You will celebrate the work of artists using creativity and imagination to advocate for a more just criminal justice system, learn how visual arts are used in various social justice movements and advocacy campaigns and work with other students to will explore mass incarceration by creating a collaborative visual arts mural which will be displayed at UNIS.


      The workshop will be led by ARTE, an organization that "engages young people to amplify their voices and organize for human rights changes through visual arts. "



      The US criminal justice system treats different races differently. There are now more men of color in prison, jail, on probation or parole in the U.S. than there were enslaved in 1850. In 2016, Blacks made up 12% of the US adult population but represented 33% of the prison population. Hispanics made up 16% of the adult population, but accounted for 23% of prisoners. If current trends continue, one in three Black males born in the U.S. in 2001 can expect to be incarcerated in his lifetime, compared to one in six Hispanic males and one in seventeen white males. In this day-long workshop, you will explore issues of race and the criminal justice system through a role play, then look about different actions that you can take to end mass incarceration and to end racism in the criminal justice system. In the second part of the day, you will engage in an art project.

      This workshop will be a role play led by Lewis Webb Jr., Director of the Healing and Transformative Justice Program of the American Friends Service Committee. The art workshop will be led by ARTE.





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