Symposium examines structural racism in criminal justice system

Paul Butler
Paul Butler

At a symposium held at the Brandeis School of Law March 23, 2018, scholars from around the country gathered to discuss structural inequality as seen in the U.S. criminal justice system. 

Dismantling Structural Inequality: Lock ups, Systemic Chokeholds, and Race-Based Policing brought together renowned speakers and authors, among them Georgetown Law's Paul Butler (Chokehold: Policing Black Men) and American University's Angela J. Davis (Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution, and Imprisonment).
Using case studies, statistics and research, the experts outlined the ways in which the criminal justice system is negatively impacted by and reinforces systemic racism.
"What brought me to law school is a lot of these issues," said first-year law student Kaylee Raymer. "I'm really passionate about criminal justice reform because it's affected people who I love and people who look like me. When I heard about this event, I knew I had to be here because it's the reason I'm in law school.
"My goal is to leave law school and become a public defender, fighting these issues head-on. The more I can learn from people who have done the scholarship, the more effective I'll be," she said.
Ed Monahan, former chief public defender with the Department of Kentucky Advocacy and a presenter at the symposium, said that the program was an important one for the law school to host.
"Listening to these presentations and the concept of this program, it speaks volumes about the University of Louisville law school and its leadership to have a program with this focus here at the law school," he said.
See presentations from Butler, Georgia State's Nirej Sekhon and Brandeis Law's Cedric Merlin Powell.
See presentations from Davis, Brandeis Law's Laura McNeal and Monahan.