Forging a More Humane Justice System: The Indispensable Role of Public Defenders in Transforming Our Criminal Justice Culture

Friday February 3rd, 2017 - 9:05 AM
(1.0 CLE) A common theme in the national conversation about the problems plaguing our justice system over the last couple years is that not all lives are valued equally. Far too often, class and race help determine whether a person is thrown into our justice system and, if so, how they are treated. Far too often, those in the system are treated in a way we would not tolerate for our own loved ones. And for those of us who work in this system, the day-to-day pressures can cause us to subtly become desensitized to the inhumanity that often defines it. In order to reclaim our justice ideals, we must transform a narrative that deems some lives expendable. Public defenders, who give voice to roughly eighty percent of those in our justice system, are well-positioned to collective redefine this narrative. This presentation will ask the audience to reconsider the role of public defenders as not only speaking for one person at a time in an individual case, but as collectively giving voice to a population of people who have been rendered voiceless. Until these voices are heard, we can't reshape the system to ensure justice for vulnerable communities. In this sense, public defenders are the engine needed to drive justice reform.
Speakers: Jonathan Rapping
Written Material(s): Forging a More Humane Justice System - The Indispensable Role of Public Defenders in Transforming our Criminal Justice Culture.pdf

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