The Power of Prosecutors in the Decarceration Movement

This event has passed.

Wedesday, September 25, 2019
5:30 – 7:30 pm

Join us for a conversation featuring Emily Bazelon, author of Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration, with Khalil Cumberbatch, Chief Strategist at New Yorkers United for Justice, and Matt Epperson, Associate Professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, where he also serves as Director of the Smart Decarceration Project.

Prosecutors' offices are a critical site for decarceration, as they have a significant influence on whether and how individuals are processed through the criminal justice system. Despite their critically important role in the criminal justice system, prosecutors have not often been the focus of research nor of criminal justice reform efforts. Bazelon's latest book explores prosecutors as the missing piece in the mass incarceration puzzle. This conversation will examine how the current shift toward progressive prosecution could be leveraged to reduce the use of mass incarceration.

Follow us @UChicagoSSA and @sdpUChicago #SmartDecarceration

Schedule of Program
5:30 pm: Doors open, Book Sale**, and Light Reception
6:00 – 7:30 pm: Discussion and Q & A
7:30 – 8:00 pm: Book signing by Emily Bazelon

* The Professional Development Program at SSA is a state of Illinois licensed provider of continuing education for social workers, clinical psychologists, professional counselors, and marriage & family therapists. Indicate your interest in CE credit at check-in.
** On-site book sale provided by Seminary Co-op Bookstores. Charged is $28.00 ($30.87 after tax)

For general questions about the event, contact Bethany at 773-834-5689.

Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate in this event should contact Carmella Snook at 773.702.9700 at least three days in advance of the event.

This program is supported by the Smart Decarceration Project and 
The Allen Burns Memorial Fund at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.


Speaker Biographies

Emily Bazelon is a staff  writer at The New York Times Magazine, the Truman Capote Fellow for Creative Writing and Law, and a lecturer at Yale Law School. Her previous book is the national bestseller Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. She’s also a co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest, a popular weekly podcast. Before joining the Times Magazine, Bazelon was a writer and editor at Slate, where she co-founded the women’s section “DoubleX.” She lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

Khalil A. Cumberbatch currently serves as Chief Strategist at New Yorkers United for Justice a coalition of broad and diverse organizations whose goal is to pass criminal justice reform legislation in New York State. He previously served as Associate Vice President of Policy at the Fortune Society, a reentry organization whose goal is to build people and not prisons.  He is also a lecturer at Columbia University School of Social Work.

Matthew W. Epperson, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, where he also serves as Director of the Smart Decarceration Project. His research centers on developing, implementing, and evaluating interventions to reduce disparities in the criminal justice system. His primary areas of focus include addressing risk factors for criminal justice involvement among persons with mental illnesses, as well as advancing evidence-based approaches to effective and sustainable decarceration. Professor Epperson’s scholarship and teaching aim to build the capacity of the social work profession to address these challenges and opportunities for criminal justice transformation. He is Co-Leader of the Promote Smart Decarceration network, through the Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative. He has over 15 years of clinical and administrative social work experience in behavioral health and criminal justice settings.

The Smart Decarceration Project (SDP) at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration is bridging research and practice to reduce the overreliance on incarceration while also working to reverse existing racial and behavioral health disparities in the criminal justice system. With funding from the Joyce Foundation, SDP researchers are currently studying the development and effectiveness of Prosecutor-led Diversion programming in three large Midwestern jurisdictions to inform the expansion and future use of prosecutorial diversion for greater impact. Specifically, this study examines how prosecutor-led diversion programs can improve outcomes for young adults and also involves an in-depth examination of a newly developed gun diversion program.