Christian Education Committee Criminal Justice Series: April 30, 2022
Beyond Talking: Challenging New Jersey Mass Incarceration Practices and Policies
New Jersey continues to have the highest rate of racial disparities in its prison population in the country, with Black residents incarcerated at a rate of 12.5 times that of whites, even as the Black incarceration rate is 19% below the national average; more than half of New Jersey’s prison population is Black and, additionally, the state has the 10th highest Latino to white racial disparity in the nation.
In this the fourth and final program in our Criminal Justice Reform Series, our presenter is
Chris Hedges, noted Pulitzer Prize-winning author and prison reform activist. Hedges has worked for a decade teaching writing classes in prisons in New Jersey through a program offered by Princeton University and later Rutgers University. A class that Hedges taught at East Jersey State Prison in 2013 went on to collaborate in the creation of a play titled Caged. Hedges has become a fierce critic of mass incarceration in the United States, and his experience as an educator in New Jersey prisons served as inspiration for his 2021 book: Our Class: Trauma and Transformation in an American Prison. Available at Labryinth Books and Amazon.