Elected Prosecutors Meet to ‘Explore Enduring Influence of Slavery and Jim Crow’ on Current Legal System

PC: Tim Pierce
Via Religious Action Center Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

By The Vanguard Staff

NEW YORK, NY – More than 20 reform-minded elected prosecutors from around the nation this week are in Alabama to “explore the enduring influence of slavery and Jim Crow on the modern criminal legal system and discuss how to address racial injustices in their own offices and communities,” according to Fair and Just Prosecution.

Local justice leaders and members of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth’s Incarcerated Children’s Advocacy Network (ICAN) who were formerly incarcerated and sentenced to life in prison as children are also in attendance.

“Together, these leaders will reflect on how our nation’s past continues to impact the present – and creates compelling reasons to rethink what the future can and should look like,” said FJP.

“The racial disparities ingrained in our modern criminal legal system have deep roots in slavery, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow, and prosecutors must reckon with these origins to truly fulfill their obligation to seek justice. There is perhaps no better place to do this essential work than in Montgomery and Selma, following in the footsteps of those who courageously fought for the freedom and rights of Black Americans,” said Miriam Krinsky, Executive Director of Fair and Just Prosecution, the organizer of the convening. 

Krinsky added, “As we recognize April as Second Chance Month, we are grateful to be joined by people who have experienced mass incarceration firsthand and are using their return to the community to create a better, safer, more just future for all.”

Krinsky explained the group of prosecutors will meet with local leaders, including Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice Executive Director Carla Crowder, ACLU of Alabama Director JaTaune Bosby Gilchrist, Lead Artist and Visionary of “The Mothers of Gynecology” Michelle Browder and The Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr. Institute Executive Director Thomas Rains.

FJP, in a statement, added, “The group will visit the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice to learn more about the direct link between slavery and mass incarceration and the human cost of systemic racism and injustice throughout U.S. history. 

“They will also explore sites that commemorate the pivotal battle to secure civil rights, including the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, Alabama State Capitol and Southern Poverty Law Center’s Civil Rights Memorial Center.

The trip includes a “walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, where civil rights activists advocating for the voting rights of Black Americans were brutally beaten by law enforcement in 1965. 

“The group will walk in their footsteps across the bridge, hear from local leaders about the legacy of Bloody Sunday and acknowledge the history of racial injustice in America and its continued role in our legal system.”

FJP added the group will discuss justice reform, how prosecutors play an important role in ensuring our legal system treats kids as kids and how the needs of crime survivors can be better met through restorative justice practices. 

FJP said elected prosecutors joining the trip include 10th Judicial Circuit of Jefferson County, Ala. Bessemer Cutoff Division District Attorney Lynneice Washington, Jefferson County, Ala. Birmingham Division District Attorney Danny Carr, Pima County, Ariz. Attorney Laura Conover, Durham County, N.C. District Attorney Satana Deberry, Wyandotte County, Kan. District Attorney Mark Dupree, Shelby County, Tenn. District Attorney Steve Mulroy, Washtenaw County, Mich. Prosecuting Attorney Eli Savit and Washington, D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb, among others.

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