Through panels and workshops, Beyond the Walls will explore health and reentry challenges facing persons who are incarcerated and persons reentering our communities, including HIV, mental health issues, substance use, housing, employment, advocacy, mentorship and educational programs. June 10 from 8:30am – 5:00pm at Pennsylvania Convention Center. The summit is free, register here.
With a focus on community-led responses to the crisis in the criminal justice system, workshops reflect the needs of prisoners and former prisoners and will highlight the work being done to improve conditions inside the prison walls and in the communities to which prisoners are returning. With over 36 workshops and over 1,000 in attendance, this summit promises to offer something for everyone.
This year’s Keynote Speaker will be Michelle Alexander, The New York Times Best-Selling Author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Her book challenges the conventional wisdom that with the election of Barack Obama as president, our nation has “triumphed over race.” Jim Crow laws were wiped off the books decades ago, but today an astounding percentage of the African American community is warehoused in prisons or trapped in a permanent, second-class status, much like their grandparents before them who lived under an explicit system of racial control. Alexander argues that the sudden and dramatic mass incarceration of African American men, primarily through the War on Drugs, has created a new racial under caste – a group of people defined largely by race that is subject to legalized discrimination, scorn, and social exclusion.