Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Official Press Release -- The Making of a Criminal: A King Hall Prison Law Symposium

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: prisonsymposium@gmail.com



Davis, CA -- On Saturday, April 1, 2006, the UC Davis School of Law at Martin Luther King Jr. Hall will present “The Making of a Criminal: A King Hall Prison Law Symposium.” King Hall 3L and second-time prison law symposium co-organizer Kyanna Williams explains, “We chose this theme because we want to explore how society ‘creates’ criminals by criminalizing certain people, communities, and behaviors. As a society, we have gendered, racialized, and classist perceptions of how criminals behave and look.” Taking place in King Hall Room 1008 from 10:00am until 3:30pm, this second annual prison law symposium is free and open to the public.

Speakers from a diversity of backgrounds and expertise have been invited to present on three panels: prisoners’ rights, gender issues in the criminal justice system, and reform of the criminal justice system. The first panel will include Holly Cooper, a King Hall graduate and supervising attorney for the Immigration Law Clinic on campus, and Mona Cadena from Amnesty International, who will discuss prisoners’ rights from an international perspective. Charles Carbone of California Prison Focus and Steve Fama of the Prison Law Office will also speak on the panel. Ari Wohlfeiler will be presenting on the second panel on behalf of Justice Now, an organization that works with women prisoners and local communities to build a safe, compassionate world without prisons. The second panel will also feature Andrea Bible from Free Battered Women, which seeks to end the re-victimization of incarcerated survivors of domestic violence as part of the movement for racial justice and the struggle to resist all forms of intimate partner violence against women and transgender people. The final panel will feature Beth Waitkus from San Quentin’s Insight Garden Project -- which has involved a team of local landscapers, gardeners and community members, as well as prison inmates and staff have to build and maintain an organic, native California garden on San Quentin's medium-security prison yard -- as well as Rhodessa Jones, founder and director of the award winning Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women, is a performance workshop that is designed to achieve personal and social transformation with incarcerated women.

As a supplement to the symposium on Saturday, the organizers have also scheduled a noontime event on the preceding Wednesday. On Wednesday, March 29, attorney Frank Lindh will speak about the experiences of his son, John Walker Lindh, who had been dubbed “The American Taliban” by the U.S. media and taken into custody by U.S. forces in Afghanistan shortly after September 11, 2001.

The idea for the first prison law symposium last April (“The Truth Unlocked: A California Prison Law Symposium”) originated in a Judicial Process seminar taught by King Hall Professor Bill Hing. Always seeking to supplement coursework regarding the judicial system with other issues of legal significance, last fall Hing sought the assistance of Susan Jordan, a 2L at the time, to present to the class regarding her expertise in the criminal justice system. A group of students in that class became inspired to create a symposium exploring the very timely and provocative issues and gathered support and funding to realize their vision for two years in a row.

With generous funding provided by the King Hall Annual Fund and the Law Students’ Association, lunch will be provided on Wednesday, and breakfast and lunch will be provided on Saturday. The schedule for the symposium and more information about this effort can be found at the symposium blog: http://makingacriminal.blogspot.com.



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