The deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, and Elijah McClain have opened the eyes of White America to how often criminal justice in America oppresses and even kills African-Americans. At the moment, there seems to be public support for reining in police departments and making them accountable. In response to greater public interest in criminal justice issues, IAHR is launching a new webinar series, called “Reimagining Criminal Justice in the United States.” During this series IAHR Director Chuck Feinberg and some board members will be interviewing advocates, practitioners, those directly affected by criminal justice, and those who have studied the issue. We will be asking our guests to imagine a reconstructed criminal justice system in the U.S. What would be different? What would be the same? How would change be affected? What parts of the system need greater accountability? What parts of the system are dysfunctional and why?
Next in our series, on Friday, July 24, 2020 at 11:30 a.m., we will be interviewing Richard N. Van Wickler who was the Superintendent of the Cheshire County Department of Corrections in Keene, New Hampshire for 27 years. Mr. Van Wickler is a veteran of the United States Army and served in the U.S. Army Reserve for 23 years. Mr. Van Wickler as superintendent of a county jail limited the use of solitary confinement and introduced many humane reforms into the jail. Mr. Van Wickler has appeared in the documentary, “Incarcerating US” and has spoken about drug policy reform in many public forums. Mr. Van Wickler is the past chairman of Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP). LEAP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit of police, prosecutors, judges, corrections officials, and other law enforcement officials advocating for criminal justice and drug policy reforms that will make communities safer and more just. He was also a leader of the New Hampshire Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty which was achieved in 2019. He is also a Board Member of the ACLU of New Hampshire and a member of the New Hampshire Association of Counties Correctional Officer Certification Board.
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