Eve Rothenberg wrote on March 3rd, 2017
I went to the talk on Wednesday called "Gender and Race in the Criminal Justice System." There was a panel of community members who have worked in the Criminal Justice system who all shared their perspectives on the issues of gender and race. Something that really stood out to me was when one of the panelists (who had been incarcerated) said that the pubic school system in New York "prepared him for prison"in the sense that he had already learned how to survive in a harsh environment. Aside from this being extremely upsetting, it really made me think about how some educational settings can be very unsafe environments for minorities and how this is something needs to change.
Elena Cerati wrote on March 1st, 2017
I though the talk was interesting and raised a good moral question about the incarceration rate in America. I agree with the speaker when he talked about the need to reform the criminal justice system in the sense of non violent offenders and drug laws that tend to disproportionality target specific ethnic groups. I did have an issue with the overall idea that he proposed because he did not have a solution. I do not think you can raise an issue as big as prison abolition without having a solution to the prison system. Additionally, I believe that violent offenders such a murderers and rapists should not be allowed to roam free and they pose a serious threat to society. Also, he talked about the private prison system as a massive business in the USA, but from sources such as The Wall Street Journal and Reuters, private prisons make up a very small proportion of prisons in the USA.
Amy Scalera wrote on February 28th, 2017
The talk was interesting and provided some interesting insight into how to fix the problem of mass incarceration in this country. I have always seen that as a problem, but I was a fan of the solutions that the speaker saw as essentially useless because they would only cut the prison population by approximately 10%. For example, I have always been an advocate for placing drug abusers in rehab and the mentally ill in (reformed) asylums because those seem like better places for these populations to make progress as opposed to rotting in jail. At first the idea of completely abolishing prisons surprised me but as he spoke I began to warm up to it. However, I am still a bit concerned about what would happen to violent and dangerous criminals. The speaker mentioned we should put the money that goes to prisons into fixing the communities which will lower the crime rates. I believe this, but I do not believe it would completely eliminate crime, so I am still left with the worry of what to do with extremely dangerous people.
Andrea Rizzo wrote on February 28th, 2017
The talk provided a lot of charts and graphs to help you visualize how large the criminal system is, which I was surprised by. However, the speaker failed to provide any insight as to logistically how prisons will be abolished and what the impact on the rest of society would be.
Olivia Resnick wrote on February 28th, 2017
I found the talk interesting but also confusing. I agreed with a lot of what the speaker said. He was very passionate and enjoyed talking about the subject. I found the part where he talked about private prisons and how people are making billions of dollars by incarcerating other humans very interesting. I wish he discussed a solution for where people who committed crimes would go, or the types of programs they would take part in. He talked a lot about how the abolition of prisons is necessary but he didn't have a good solution that would make it possible for it to ever happen.
Jane Gold wrote on February 28th, 2017
I found the talk surprising. I enjoyed the graphs and charts included in the presentation and found it interesting that crime rates have actually been decreasing. I do wish, however, that he explained more his plan for a solution if abolition of prisons were to happen. I was confused by the logistics and implications that some of his statements had. I also wished to hear more about the role religion played in the incarceration problems.
Margaret Slonaker wrote on February 28th, 2017
I thought the talk was interesting and raised important questions. Personally, I agree that there is a problem of mass incarceration in the United States. I think that minorities and smaller offenses are targeted too frequently. However, I did have a problem with his lecture in that there are still other people in prison who have committed very horrible crimes, such as rape and murder, and with the abolition of prison, I was concerned about the placement of those people. I was surprised that he did not have a solution, and instead was only giving facts as to why prison is horrible, which I agree to an extent. However, what about the people that have committed horrible crimes, are they supposed to be granted freedom if prisons are abolished. I was a disappointed he did not have a solution to a problem that seemed pretty big for his movement.