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The [in]Justice System: How California prisons are leading and lagging


United States prisons and jails—incarcerating 25 percent of all prisoners in the world—are the subject of unprecedented public attention. Mass incarceration, racial and economic inequity, violence against prisoners, and medical and mental health neglect now receive critical scrutiny after years in the shadows. President Obama recently became the first sitting president to visit a federal prison. State legislatures are working to cut prison populations, and once unthinkable bipartisan coalitions are tackling criminal justice reform. A recent landmark legal agreement in California will establish some limits on solitary confinement. Even with this new attention and an appetite for change, no major reforms have been implemented. 

UC Berkeley's Human Rights Program and the Human Rights Center at Berkeley Law, with the generous support of the Townsend Center for the Humanities and Social Science Matrix, are pleased to present a 2015-16 event series focused on California prisons. This series will examine conditions, policies, and prospects for change within a national and international context. Speakers will include scholars, advocates, international practitioners, and formerly incarcerated people.


Join us for our first event in The [in]Justice System series—The Life Cycle of the Problem—featuring Jonathan Simon, UC Berkeley Professor of Law and author of Mass Incarceration on Trial; Keramet Reiter, UC Irvine Professor of Law and Society and co-author of Extreme Punishment; Hernán Reyes, former Medical Coordinator, Health in Detention, International Committee of the Red Cross; and Azadeh Zohrabi, National Campaigner for the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.

Panelists will discuss the school-to-prison pipeline, race and poverty, mental health, health care, solitary confinement, and more. For more info or to RSVP: or 510.642.0965.