Monday, May 04, 2020

Join us TOMORROW at 8pm for a virtual town hall: "We're Dying In Here": Incarceration & Coronavirus

According to The Marshall Project, as of April 29, at least 14,513 people in US prisons had tested positive for coronavirus. And most experts agree the number of infected is almost certainly significantly higher than the confirmed cases reported so far. As of April 29, 218 incarcerated individuals had died of the disease.
What's being done to protect those in custody of our nation's jails, prisons, and detention centers and those working within them? How has the current system failed them? Why isn't every state prioritizing decarceration right now? How can you get involved?
Join Defending Rights & Dissent on Tuesday, May 5 at 8pm (ET) for a virtual town hall event titled "We're Dying In Here: Incarceration & Coronavirus." Moderated by DRAD communications director Quentin Anthony Anderson, the town hall will feature Taryn Merkl (Senior Counsel, The Brennan Center), Alanah Odoms (Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana), and Rev. Alexis Anderson (Organizer for the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition). Decarceration has always been moral imperative. But in the age of the coronavirus, decarceration is now an urgent public health imperative.
This is an important conversation that you don't want to miss. 
Hope you can join us,


Alanah Odoms, a leading civil rights attorney, is the first African American woman to be named executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana. She is committed to the priorities of reducing mass incarceration and furthering racial justice in Louisiana, as well as expanding the ACLU’s collaboration with marginalized communities. Current initiatives under her leadership include a comprehensive statewide assessment of Louisiana’s prolific pretrial detainee population. Odoms previously served as the director of the division of children and families and deputy general counsel of the Louisiana Supreme Court. Odoms also worked as special counsel to Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice, Bernette J. Johnson. Her work has included advocacy to support the establishment of a truancy center in Orleans Parish and the revision of the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Articles on post-conviction relief.
Taryn A. Merkl is senior counsel in the Brennan Center’s Justice Program and its Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime & Incarceration initiative. Her work focuses on building a smarter, stronger, and fairer criminal justice system while reducing unnecessary incarceration and promoting public safety. Merkl previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of New York for more than 16 years. She served as deputy chief of the Criminal Division and as chief of the Civil Rights and Organized Crime and Gangs sections. In Civil Rights, she supervised all human trafficking and criminal civil rights cases in the district.
Rev. Alexis Anderson is a proud member of the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition, the Louisianans for Prison Alternatives, the Louisiana Stop Solitary Coalition and the Louisiana Coalition for Children’s Rights. Rev. Alexis Anderson is a servant teacher, minister and the founder and Executive Director of PREACH. Anderson serves on the Louisiana Mental Health Advisory Board, the Committee to Support Healthcare Equity, the 19th JDC Domestic Violence Speciality Court Planning Workgroup, the Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana Board and is the founder of the All Paws on Deck Walk for Pet Cancer Awareness. An ordained minister in the AME Church, she has served as an outreach minister in California and Washington State and has pastored churches in Washington State and Louisiana.
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