March 12, 2021 – Part Two of 7th Annual Transformative Justice and Abolition Criminology

Part Two of 7th Annual Transformative Justice and Abolition Criminology

Friday, March 12, 2021
9:00am to 11:00am Western Time
10:00am to 12:00pm Mountain Time
11:00am to 1:00pm Central Time
12:00pm to 2:00pm Eastern Time

University of Utah Dream Center, Save the Kids, Institute for Critical Animal Studies, Salt Lake Community College’ Chief Diversity Office, Utah Reintegration Project, Poetry Behind the Walls, Peace Studies Journal, Journal for Critical Animal Studies, Arissa Media Group, Eco-ability Collective, Utah Criminology Student Association, and Green Theory and Praxis Journal

Facilitated by
Brock Smith, Student, Salt Lake Community College

Jahne Johnson, Student, Salt Lake Community College
Leaders of the Utah Criminology Student Association – UCSA


Hosted by
Xris Macias, Director, Dream Center, University of Utah

Register in advance for this meeting:

Ken-Tay Lee

Abstract: I will present my life experience. How I had to change and why goodness was always deep inside me. I am here because I believed that I would be here. I am prepared to be here. Let us now talk about why some things are still the same in the criminal justice system and personally.

Bio: I was born in North Carolina in extreme poverty. I was arrested at the age of fourteen years old and I was later convicted and sentenced to life without parole. I have lived most of my life knowing that I would die in prison with very little or no hope at all in getting out of prison. If I had been born in a different zip code or my family was able to pay for my defense I believe I would not have been convicted. My sentence today would be considered unconstitutional. Let us understand why this happened and how we and the system can and must change.

10:20am-10:30am Q and A

9. Practical Abolition: Some Lessons and a Blueprint for Closing Our Prisons?
David Boehnke

Abstract: Abolitionist politics is on the rise, with national prison strikes in 2016 and 2018, and the call to defund and “literally abolish the police” after the George Floyd Uprising. Yet in Minnesota, and elsewhere(?), there is a disturbing disconnect between those most impacted by police and prisons and the abolitionist movement, and significant problems that come from and have generated that disconnect. I believe that through Minnesota based work on technical violations, sex offender civil commitment, and much more, lessons are being learned that can unite the abolitionist movement with those most impacted and in doing so make abolitionist goals more than aspirational. In this talk I will: 1. Summarize lessons from 6 years of abolitionist co-organizing with prisoners, and increasingly ex-prisoners, families, and impacted communities. 2. Outline what I believe it will take to actually abolish the prison system in the United States, using work in Minnesota as a case study, and drawing upon the restorative justice work of Common Justice.

Bio: David Boehnke is a volunteer organizer, half time high school social studies teacher, and abolitionist. He is a member of the Twin Cities Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, Decarcerate MN Coalition, and End MSOP Coalition. He will be speaking from his personal experience, not as a group representative.

10:50am-11:00am Q and A

10. The Transformative Power of Education
Matthew Holman

Bio: Matthew Holman was formerly incarcerated and is currently the marketing director at QPilot. “As someone [Matthew Holman] that knows firsthand the impact of education on the incarcerated, Matthew works to expand access to higher education in prison. He’s spoken with lawmakers in Washington, DC several times, and volunteers locally to promote awareness. He works for a tech startup trying to show the world that a criminal past does not define him – or anyone.”

11:20am-11:30am Q and A

11. Connecting in Our Communities
Alisha Paige

Abstract: Many times connecting in our communities is hard so, I would love to share examples of how we can get involved with folks through opening up the topics in mixed company and providing services whether its advocacy, food justice, etc.

Bio: Alisha Page is a community advocate for change and passionate about ending mass incarceration. She has volunteered since 2007 working in advocacy for prisoners and their families and the pasty 9 years in reentry. Additionally, she has be an active comrade with Save the Kids originally with Wisdom behind the walls but now active where she is needed. She is currently the Treasurer and a board member. She actively attends juvenile court advocating for families caught up in the system. Ms. Page facilitates equity training for k-12 and often provides guidance for teacher retraining. Ms. Page is a small business owner since 2004 who is passionate about helping in the community. She is an active small business coach for Signature Planning and is passionate about helping small businesses startups and expand. She has been gardening for over fifteen years and actively involved in food justice. Her family and Save the Kids give over 6000 pounds of food to community food banks each year. She believes that food education is especially important when narrowing the educational divide that exists in communities. Good nutrition and education go hand in hand. Ms. Page holds a degree in Psychology concentration in Financial Management and B. A. in Sociology.

11:50am-12:00pm Q and A

12. Activism: Power to Transform
Ozwald Balfour

Abstract: Once accused, the average individual in America has a very high likelihood that she or he will be convicted and imprisoned. It is estimated that between 90 to 95 percent of all federal and state cases end in a plea bargain. According to the US Department of Justice, only 0.25% of court cases ended in acquittal. The vast majority of appeals are unsuccessful: Fewer than 9 percent of total appeals result in reversals of lower courts. In light of these dismal statistics,  lots of organizations and programs are engaged in efforts to transform the Criminal Justice System. ADULLAM JUstice Project, a virtual, grassroots, not-for-profit, non-government Advocacy for Justice and Mercy works in the trenches to aid individuals who are accused and criminally charged to increase their odds of avoiding a conviction. It’s next priority is freeing people who are imprisoned. Today’s presentation focuses on recent undertakings to achieve Transformation of individuals as well as the Criminal Justice System. Results Matter.

Bio: Ozwald Balfour was born and raised on the Caribbean island of Trinidad. He is a retired Media Entrepreneur. Ozwald earned a degree in International Communications: Media & International Politics, from the University of Utah (1984). He was imprisoned by the State of Utah in Draper and Gunnison from March 2016 to November 2020. Ozwald is currently a Citizen Journalist, a member of the National Lawyers Guild and Chief of Volunteer Services for ADULLAM Justice Project

12:20pm-12:30pm Q and A

13. Punk, Hip Hop, and Lowriders Oh My! Alternatives to Incarceration
Anthony J. Nocella II

Abstract: This presentation talks about Save the Kids programs that are the three most criminalized youth cultures – punk, Hip Hop, and lowriders. These cultures have many similarities, which the presentation will discuss, including how each have been criminalized, policed, and repressed. This presentation will talk about the powerful elements of each culture that promotes peace and justice, decolonizing, and non-punitive justice.

Bio: Anthony J. Nocella II, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology in the Institute of Public Safety at Salt Lake Community College. He is the editor of the Peace Studies Journal, Transformative Justice Journal, and co-editor of five book series including Critical Animal Studies and Theory with Lexington Books and Hip Hop Studies and Activism with Peter Lang Publishing. He is the National Director of Save the Kids and Executive Director of the Institute for Critical Animal Studies. He has published over fifty book chapters or articles and forty books. He has been interviewed by New York Times, Washington Post, Houston Chronicles, Fresno Bee, Fox, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, and Los Angeles Times.

12:50pm-1:00pm Q and A