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February 26, 2020

St. Francis College Hosts 2nd Annual Prison Reform & Re-Entry Conference



  • Journalist and Yale law professor Emily Bazelon, JD, author of New York Times bestseller Charged: The Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration, in a keynote conversation with SFC first-year student Tarari White – part of the SFC Post-Prison Program -- and Brooklyn DA's Office social worker Maksim Kreyngold, both featured in the Charged companion podcast.
  • Representatives from the Brooklyn DA's Office, Metropolitan Detention Center, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, NYC Housing Authority, SFC Post-Prison Program students.
  • Academics, activists, community organizations and others.


A day-long series of talks, panel discussions and presentations addressing punishment during incarceration and the challenges after release.


St. Francis College

180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201


To be determined

FREE & Open to the Public. Lunch provided.

Full agenda below

Advance registration requested:

Members of the media: email [email protected] to arrange on-site coverage, or to request interviews or images.

Emily Bazelon, Maksim Kreyngold, White,

Brooklyn, NYNew York Times Magazine journalist Emily Bazelon, JD, author of the bestseller Charged: The Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration, will keynote St. Francis College's 2nd Annual Prison Reform & Re-Entry Conference, a day-long series of talks, panel discussions and displays that address punishment during incarceration and challenges after release.

Bazelon, who also teaches at Yale Law School, will lead a conversation with Tarari White, a student currently enrolled in St. Francis College's Post-Prison Program, and Maksim Kreyngold, a social worker at the Office of the Brooklyn District Attorney who helped White successfully complete a jail-diversion program. Both are featured in the Charged companion podcast.

Under the direction of Emily Horowitz, Ph.D. (Sociology) and Eric Platt, Ph.D. (History) St. Francis College launched its Post-Prison Program in 2014 to help formerly incarcerated women and men pursue their degrees as full-time students. The Program has since enrolled 15 students, four of whom have graduated so far.

"Re-entry after incarceration poses unique challenges, from finding housing and employment, navigating probation and parole, and building social and professional networks so that lives can be rebuilt," said Dr. Horowitz. "We're excited to have an open conversation about the long-term impact of decades of over-punishment, and to examine innovative ways to end mass incarceration and help improve the lives of those directly impacted by these unjust laws and policies."

The Prison Reform and Re-Entry Conference – coordinated by Drs. Horowitz and Platt – will feature a morning panel discussion with Post-Prison Program students, moderated by one of its alumni, Johnny Perez '18, who is now the Director of U.S. Prisons Program for the National Religious Campaign Against Torture

An afternoon panel organized and moderated by Dr. Michelle Gantt, Education Director of New York City's Metropolitan Detention Center, will explore education in prison and novel post-incarceration re-entry initiatives.

Throughout the day, attendees can try out 6X9, a virtual reality display that mimics the experience of solitary confinement, a punishment that more than 100,000 individuals in U.S. prisons currently endure. Community groups and organizations involved with incarceration issues will also be on hand to share information and answer questions.

Students from the University of Southern Mississippi will serve as volunteer workers at the conference as part of a service-learning trip to learn about the innovative Post Prison Program. The group is visiting Brooklyn to study prison reform and alternative approaches to re-entry.

The Prison Reform & Re-Entry Conference is preceded by a President's Lecture Series discussion between Miguel Martinez-Saenz, Ph.D., President of St. Francis College, and Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League.

That event is on Monday, March 16, and runs from 11:15 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Advance registration requested:

In November 2018, St. Francis College hosted its first conference focused on incarceration, the Prison, Programs & Reentry Possibilities Conference.

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Prison Reform & Re-Entry Conference Agenda

All day: 6X9, Solitary Confinement Exhibit and Experience

6x9 is a virtual reality solitary confinement experience.

Lasting only nine minutes, viewers experience what over 100,000 currently incarcerated people are experiencing, sometimes for decades at a time.

In New York alone, more than 5,000 people are locked in these human cages. 6x9 is completely narrated by these solitary survivors, including St. Francis College Post Prison Program graduate Johnny Perez (SFC '18). It is aimed at educating general audiences about the psychological impacts of solitary confinement and how it is used in American prisons.

10:10 - 11:05 am St. Francis College Post-Prison Student Panel

Current students and graduates from St. Francis College's Post Prison Program discuss the benefits and challenges of attending college during the re-entry process.

Moderated by Johnny Perez (SFC '18) of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture

11:05am -12:20 pm Tables | Networking

Community-based organizations address issues of mass incarceration and re-entry challenges.

12:20 – 1:45 pm Keynote Panel Address: Emily Bazelon, JD, with Maksim Kreyngold and Tarari White

Emily Bazelon will discuss Charged: The Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration, her New York Times bestseller and companion podcast, which tells the story of her journey through a specialized Brooklyn court designed to swiftly and harshly punish illegal gun possession. Along the way, she discovers the politics outside the courtroom start to change when a new generation of activists and insiders began challenging the old system of which the gun court was part (read the Slate story here).

Bazelon will be joined by Tarari White, a first-year student at St. Francis College featured in the Charged podcast who participated in a diversion program that saved him from jail. Also joining her will be Maksim Kreyngold, Tarari's social worker at the Office of the Brooklyn District Attorney (also featured in Charged) who helped Tarari navigate the program.

Emily Bazelon is a Lecturer in Law, Senior Research Scholar in Law, and Truman Capote Fellow at Yale Law School. She is also a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine. In addition to Charged, she is the author of the best-seller Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. She co-hosts a popular podcast, the Slate Political Gabfest.

Before joining the Times, Bazelon worked for nine years as a senior editor at Slate. She has been a Soros media fellow, an editor and writer at Legal Affairs magazine, and a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. She was a frequent guest on the Colbert Report.

Bazelon is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School.

1:45 – 2:30 pm Lunch | Networking

2:30 – 3:45 pm Education in Prison & Innovative Re-Entry Initiatives Panel

Moderated & Organized by Dr. Michelle Gantt, Education Director of Metropolitan Detention Center

Panelists: Thomas Gregory, Senior Executive for Law Enforcement Operations, Kings County District Attorney's Office; Yolanda Johnson, Chief of Housing Community Activities, NYC Housing Authority; Keston Jones, Program Manager, SCO Family of Services

4 – 5 pm Closing Reception

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