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Friday, March 19 • 3:15pm - 4:00pm

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In this session, you will have women who are living proof that there’s more to women returning citizens, then their conviction. The women will discuss their challenges, barriers, and lessons learned from being incarcerated and how each person deals with their unique struggles due to intersectionality. Topics covered include:

  • Why it is essential to humanize people who have been directly impacted by incarceration. Seeing us as people first; not inmates, defendants, ex-felons, convicts. etc. After being relegated to second class citizenship, it’s vital that we are seen.
  • We want people to be educated on issues of injustice, it is not our responsibility to teach. If we choose to, that is a decision that we are making; not an obligation we feel. 
  • Systemic changes to the criminal legal system won’t happen unless people directly impacted are leading the movement; not asked for feedback after decisions have already been made for us. 
  • Criminal justice reform is a racial/social justice issue. There are collateral consequences of incarceration that feed the cycle of poverty and marginalization of communities of color: job insecurity, lack of adequate healthcare, felonism (*the systemic, institutionalized prejudice against people suspected or convicted of a felony. This prejudice often extends to people who support individuals with a criminal history), etc.  
  • The intersectionality of sexism, racism, classism and felonism that formerly incarcerated women face.
  • Bring the audience proximate to the formerly incarcerated community allows them to see the humanity of those effected. We are more than felons or convicts. We are mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts.  Getting to know us as people is the first step in changing the narrative surrounding the incarcerated.

avatar for Rasheeda Lawrence

Rasheeda Lawrence

Social Worker, State of Maryland Office of the Public Defender
Rasheeda Lawrence earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University Of Maryland School Of Social Work during her career working with incarcerated men, returning citizens and those suffering with substance use disorders. She also earned her Master’s Degree in Criminal... Read More →
avatar for Tyra Patterson

Tyra Patterson

Community Outreach Strategist, Artist, Activist, Ohio Justice & Policy Center
Tyra Patterson was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. On December 25, 2017, she walked out of prison after serving 23 years for crimes she did not commit. Today, Tyra speaks all over the country, leveraging her story to educate people on injustice and the need for systemic change... Read More →
avatar for Catherine Jones

Catherine Jones

Co-Director of Outreach and Partnership Development, The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth
Catherine Jones was incarcerated at the age of 13 for murder. She was released when she was 30. Her experiences with the penal system sparked a passion inside of her to be a voice for those she left behind. In her role at the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, she works to... Read More →
avatar for Lori James-Townes

Lori James-Townes

President & CEO, Expand Now LLC
Lori James-Townes is President & CEO of Expand-Now, LLC. She also serves as an Assistant Training Director for National Association of Public Defense. Lori’s passion is adding value to others through speaking, training, development activities, coaching, and consulting. Lori has... Read More →

Friday March 19, 2021 3:15pm - 4:00pm EDT