Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Criminal Justice System

Where are We Now and Where are We Heading?

October 22, 2008 


1. Raise the Commission’s visibility

2. Promote Dialogue

3. Inform decision-makers about the current initiatives and the importance of preventing youth from entering the criminal justice system


8:30 – 9:00 Registration & Continental Breakfast

9:00 – 9:30 Welcoming remarks: The Honorable Judge Lubbie Harper, Jr., Appellate Court Judge and Chair of the Commission Greetings: The Honorable Chase T. Rogers, Chief Justice

9:30 – 10:45 Keynote Speech: Prof. Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. Harvard Law School Jesse Climenko Professor of Law Executive Director, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice

10:45 – 11:00 Break

11:00 – 12:30 Morning Break-out sessions (see below)

12:30 – 1:30 Lunch Panel presentation: Key Decision Points in the Criminal Justice Process Judge Patrick Clifford, Chief Administrative Judge for Criminal Matters Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane Chief Public Defender Susan Storey Commissioner of Public Safety John Danaher Chief Paul Fitzgerald, Berlin Police Department, Police Chiefs' Association

1:30 – 3:00 Afternoon Break-out sessions Facilitated Dialogue

3:00 – 4:00 Plenary session Afternoon Break-out groups will report back to the Commission on their recommendations for action Morning Break-out sessions:

1. The Media & its Role in Shaping Perceptions of Race & Ethnicity

A panel of media representatives will discuss the role that television, newspapers and radio play in shaping the way the public perceives the connection between race/ethnicity and crime.

Speakers: Colin McEnroe, radio talk show host, columnist, blogger, author, social commentator and playwright. Dr. Reginald Simmons, CCSU Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice Tom Condon, columnist, editorial writer and editor of Place, a Sunday Commentary section of The Hartford Courant

2. Urban v. Suburban Policing

A panel of police chiefs will discuss the challenges, needs and techniques unique to policing in an urban vs. suburban environment.
Speakers: Chief Sweeney, Chief of Glastonbury Police Department and former Chief for the Bridgeport Police Department Chief Gagliardi, Chief of New Britain Police Department Moderator: Preston Tisdale

3. The Effect of the War on Drugs on Minority Populations

Local experts from state and not-for-profit agencies will discuss the negative impact that the war on drugs has had on Connecticut residents, particularly its minority populations.

Speakers: Lorenzo Jones, A Better Way Foundation Arthur C. Evans, Jr., Ph.D., Director of the Department of Behavioral Health and Mental Retardation Services for the City of Philadelphia and Acting Commissioner for the Department of Human Services.

4. Juvenile Justice: Comprehensive Strategies for Keeping Young People out of the Criminal Justice System and in School

Dr. Patrick Coggins of Stetson University will examine the factors driving the increase in juvenile incarceration, particularly of minorities, and the variables that impact courts and schools. What can schools and the court do? Five validated models to reduce the juvenile incarceration rate will be explored.

Speaker: Dr. Patrick Coggins, Jesse Ball DuPont Chair in Education at Stetson University

5. The Impact of Underlying Social Issues on the Criminal Justice System

The criminal justice system is one created by man and shaped by society’s response to a changing social environment. This panel will examine the underlying societal issues that influence the criminal justice system.

6. Perception vs. Reality – Youth Violence

A panel consisting of local youth will discuss the difference between the perception of youth violence in Connecticut and the reality.

Video: Youth Rights Media video No Haven Speakers: Panel of youth who participated in making the video Moderator: Laura McCargar, Executive Director of Youth Rights Media

7. The Impact of Politics on our Criminal Justice System

A panel of legislators that includes Senator Andrew McDonald, Senator Toni N. Harp, Representative Toni Walker, Senator John Kissel, Representative Bill Dyson and Senator Kissel, will discuss how political decisions affect our criminal justice system.

Speakers: Senator Andrew McDonald Senator Toni Harp Representative Toni Walker Bill Dyson Senator Kissel Moderator: Ken Dixon, Bridgeport Post

8. The Perception of the Criminal Justice System by the Latino Community

A September, 2008 study by the Pew Hispanic Center indicates that Latinos perceive a significant deterioration of their overall position in the United States. This panel discussion focuses on how Latinos perceive the Criminal Justice System. One speaker will focus on undocumented immigrants; the others will speak to general issues that concern the extraordinarily diverse community placed under the Latino umbrella.

Speaker: Dr. Ronald Fernandez, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice At Central Connecticut State University Miguel Sazo,Moderator: Dr. Ronald Fernandez

9. Innovative Initiatives Spearheaded by Inner-City Police Chiefs

Inner city police departments are rarely recognized for their community service efforts. Connecticut is fortunate to have police chiefs in its four major urban areas who have recognized the importance of providing services to youth in an effort to deter their participation in criminal activity. To learn what can be accomplished when people are motivated and agencies work together, the Commission has invited Chief Roberts of Hartford, Chief Norwood of Bridgeport, Chief O’Leary of Waterbury and Chief Lewis of New Haven to present to attendees their ground-breaking initiatives.

Speakers: Chief Roberts for Hartford Police Department Chief Norwood for Bridgeport Police Department Chief O’Leary for Waterbury Police Department Chief Lewis for New Haven Police Department

10. From Destruction to Construction: Mentoring Young Men of Color

Dr. Edward Joyner of Sacred Heart University will talk about working with young men who have a history of criminal behavior. This requires a systemic approach and mentors who are not intimidated by the hyper-masculine behaviors that many of these young men have adopted. Yet when appropriate institutions and individuals work together to help these young men develop social and vocational skills that lead to employment and sustained relationships with successful role models, long-term success is possible. This presentation will provide participants with a real case study of a reasonably successful intervention that engaged the school, law enforcement officials and a lawyer to transform lives.

Speaker: Dr. Edward Joyner, Professor at Sacred Heart University

11. The Power of Choice

This workshop by Anthony M. Harper, MSW, will focus on the power that adolescents have to make positive choices.
Speaker: Anthony M. Harper, MSW

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