How can we correct an unjust system and connect with loved ones behind bars?
The United States is home to some of the highest incarceration rates in the world, imprisoning 2.3 million Americans (EJI.org). The racial disparities of our justice system are stark – 70% of incarcerated Americans are non-white.
Latino men are more than 3x as likely as white men to be imprisoned, while African American men are more than 7x as likely. As the Equal Justice Initiative outlines, the history in the US of the “war on drugs” and “tough on crime” mandatory sentencing policies have fueled these racial disparities.
“Mass incarceration today stands as a legacy of past abuses and continues to limit opportunities in our nation’s most vulnerable communities.” (EJI.org)
For many years the Summit community has come together to learn and activate around criminal justice. Performers, poets, and activists, including Bryan Stevenson, John Legend, Harry Belafonte, dream hampton, Mark Gonzalez, Aja Monet, and Philip Agnew have brought their words and art to our stages. Partners like Revolve Impact, the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC), and the Enneagram Prison Project have brought Summit attendees on immersive learning experiences inside local jails and prisons.
This year, Summit is launching a Criminal Justice Policy Lab led by former D.A. of San Francisco and justice reform advocate George Gascón to further the movement and create infrastructure support for elected officials, practitioners and other stakeholders.
Summit stages have highlighted a series of conversations about criminal justice reform, with featured speakers Bryan Stevenson, dream hampton, Harry Belafonte, Adam Foss, John Legend, Patrisse Cullors, Gina Belafonte, Shaka Senghor, Piper Kerman, and Scott Budnick, amongst others.
Criminal Justice Policy Lab
In the criminal justice reform movement, there is a growing need for additional infrastructure and support for elected officials, practitioners, and other stakeholders. Led by former D.A. of San Francisco and justice reform advocate George Gascón, The Summit Criminal Justice Policy Lab will assist with on the ground support to reform the delivery of justice in communities at the national, state, and local levels.
At Summit LA 2017, 2018, and 2019, Summit partnered with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Homeboy Industries, and Revolve Impact to bring Summiters together to learn about smart justice from all angles of the system. Our community engaged in educational visits to the Central Juvenile Hall, Men's Central Jail, and LA Public Defenders Office.