The Visions of Justice Conference held last week brought together over 80 attendees to discuss the struggles that individuals face during reentry to society. The conference featured panelists who shared their personal stories, including Josie Haile and John Schmidt, reminding us all that our lives can change in an instant. Through perseverance and support, it is possible to overcome any obstacles. Participants also experienced a Reentry Simulation that highlighted the challenges faced by individuals trying to reintegrate into society after being incarcerated. The conference also covered important topics such as Clean Slate implementation and the impact on the justice-impacted community.
One of the most powerful experiences for participants was the Reentry Simulation facilitated by the United States Attorney’s Office of Eastern Pennsylvania and PAR-Recycle Works. The simulation demonstrated the challenges that individuals face after being released from incarceration, including difficulties accessing housing, transportation, and employment opportunities. It provided a unique perspective and reinforced the need for more support and resources for individuals during the reentry process.
The following panel, moderated by John Reynolds from the ACLU of Delaware, discussed Clean Slate implementation and its positive economic impact on the justice-impacted community. Panelists Ryan Ewing from the Clean Slate Initiative, Haneef Salaam, and Anthony Stanziale from the Delaware Center for Justice provided valuable insights into the challenges faced by individuals with criminal records and the opportunities provided by Clean Slate legislation. Clean Slate is a law that allows for the automatic expungement of certain criminal records, giving individuals a second chance at life through a clean slate, increased job opportunities, and access to housing and educational opportunities.
The conference continued with a keynote address by Dr. Yasser Payne, who focused on the aging incarcerated population. Dr. Payne spoke about the need to provide support and resources for individuals who are serving long-term sentences and the struggles they face as they age. Dr. Payne highlighted the need for more compassionate release programs, prison hospice care, and reentry support for aging individuals returning to society.
The Visions of Justice Conference highlighted the struggles faced by the justice-impacted community and the need for reform in legislation to provide support and resources to those transitioning back to society. The conference demonstrated that through collaboration and perseverance, it is possible to overcome any obstacle. The conference provided valuable insights into the efforts to improve Clean Slate legislation, providing a pathway towards economic stability for those with criminal records. The keynote speaker illustrated the need for more compassionate release programs for aging individuals affected by long-term incarceration.
Visions of Justice Conference allowed legal professionals and activists to come together to share important information and insights on crucial topics. One such highlight was Eliza Hirst’s presentation on the collateral consequences of juvenile records, which left a lasting impact on attendees. The final panel was moderated by DCJ’s Policy Director, Kailyn Richards, and featured a stimulating discussion with New Castle County Executive, Matt Meyer, Misty Seemans, Esq., Office of Defense Services, and Vonderlear Smack, of ALCU of Delaware. This panel brought attention to the sobering statistics of police misconduct and how understanding the new Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights (LEOBOR) can lead to new legislation that will make law enforcement more accountable and transparent. By bringing together powerful voices in the legal field, Visions of Justice Conference equipped participants with the information to combat injustice.
To learn more about Delaware’s Clean Slate law, find expungement assistance, and other resources, visit Clean Slate Delaware’s automated expungement hub, CleanSlateDE.org.
The Visions of Justice Conference was an essential event bringing together individuals and organizations working for the betterment of the justice-impacted community. The conference highlighted the need for compassionate and supportive legislation and programs to help individuals overcome the obstacles and challenges they face during reentry to society. The conference provided valuable insights into Clean Slate implementation and the positive impact it will have on the justice-impacted community. Through collaboration and continued efforts, we can help individuals overcome the challenges they face and provide a pathway towards a second chance at life.