Monroe College School of Criminal and Social Justice Hosts Rikers: An American Jail Screening and Panel Discussion

Today, the Monroe College School of Justice held a special screening of RIKERS: An American Jail, apowerful documentary that provides a first-hand look at some of the correctional system’s discernible shortcomings. 

At a time when the United States represents about 4.4 percent of the world's population,yethouses some 21 percent of the world's prisoners, the award-winning film sheds light on the human impact of this mass incarceration crisis through the eyes of those have experienced life at one of the world’s largest – and most notorious – jails.

Approximately 100 students attended the screening, which was followed by an interactive panel discussion that included two of the individuals featured in the documentary: Johnny Perez, now Director of the U.S. Prison Program for the National Religious Campaign Against Torture; and Kathy Morse, a keen advocate for social justice issues. They were joined by Zachary Katznelson, Director of the Independent Commission on the Independent Commission on New York City Justice and Incarceration Reform; and Vidal Guzman, a JustLeadershipUSA community organizer.

The panel, which was moderated by Monroe College criminal justice professor Allen Dotson, a law enforcement veteran with over 40 years of experience at state and federal agencies, explored timely topics such as inmate violence, reshaping cultural norms in urban communities, statewide efforts to end money bail, and other criminal justice reform efforts.

The event was part of a continuing series of events hosted by the College’s School of Criminal and Social Justice to promote civic engagement and encourage students to engage in thoughtful conversations and critical thinking around real-world criminal justice issues. 

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