2017 News

Smart Decarceration Initiative to host national conference in Chicago

The Smart Decarceration Initiative (SDI) will hold its second national conference, “Tools and Tactics: Promising Solutions to Advance the Era of Smart Decarceration,” November 2-4 at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.

The conference will open the evening of November 2 with Susan Burton, author of “Becoming Ms. Burton” and founder of A New Way of Life Re-entry Project. After her 5-year old son was accidentally hit and killed by a car, Burton turned to alcohol and drugs, became enmeshed in the criminal justice system for nearly two decades then found sobriety in 1997. Today she is a leader in the national criminal justice reform movement.

Other keynote speakers include the following: Karol Mason, president of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and former U.S. assistant attorney general; Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project; and Ronald Sullivan, director of the Criminal Justice Institute at Harvard Law School.

Evening with Shaun King
The conference also will feature an evening with Shaun King, on November 3. King has written extensively about the Black Lives Matter movement, covering discrimination, police brutality, the prison industrial complex, and social justice in the wake of violence in New York, Baltimore, Cleveland, Ferguson, Charleston and other cities. He is now the writer-in-residence at Harvard Law School’s Fair Justice Project.

Organizers say the goal of the conference is to promote the integration of research, practice and policy into building—and sustaining—the decarceration era. To register, please click here. 

First decarceration conference
SDI hosted the first national conference on decarceration in September 2015 at Washington University in St. Louis. To read the conference report, click here.

Based at the Center for Social Development, SDI is led by Carrie Pettus-Davis, PhD, assistant professor at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, and Matthew Epperson, PhD, associate professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. To read the conference report, click here. 

Book launch
Pettus-Davis and Epperson are co-editors of the new book “Smart Decarceration: Advancing Criminal Justice Transformation in the 21st Century.” An event to launch the book will be at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 17, at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work. The event is free and open to the public.