The panel discussion and reading that took place Thursday, 9/10, for Urban Policy professor Jeff Smith’s launch of his new book Mr Smith Goes to Prison, packed the Theresa Lang Community and Student Center. Moderator Touré expertly led the discussion, and the panelists Jeff Smith, Soffiyah Elijah, Carla Shedd, and Melissa Mark Viverito shared incredible insights and analyses about the state of prisons and prison reform in the United States. None shied away from difficult topics such as the realities of Rikers Island, the dehumanization and objectification of incarcerated people, and the punitive nature of post-incarceration life. The questions from audience members and livestream viewers added another dimension, and Professor Smith ended the discussion by reminding us that substantive reform cannot occur until society’s understanding of incarcerated people becomes both more accurate and more compassionate. Thanks again to the Center for New York City Affairs and Humanities Action Lab for their co-sponsorship of this event with Milano. Please click here for the link to the livestream recording.
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