Community discussion focuses on the costs of incarceration

jail police
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Building Bridges for the Greater Good is organizing a community conversation on the criminal justice system and the Middle River Regional Jail.

The event will be held on Monday, Aug. 30, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Booker T. Washington Community Center in Staunton.

The goal is to try to get all involved in the discussion to better understand the true costs of incarceration for our community.

In this gathering, participants will learn about how the system affects the for lives of those caught up in the criminal justice system and the collective impact on our community, exploring such questions as:

  • How does incarceration affect individuals and their families – both during imprisonment and for the rest of their lives?
  • How does imprisonment affect mental health and addiction? Are there better ways we can respond to these needs?
  • What is the cost to our community when incarcerated people are cut off from their potential to contribute financially, creatively, socially?
  • Are there other ways we can promote community safety and justice for those harmed that relies less on jail time?
  • How much taxpayer money goes into the criminal justice system? What do we lose by investing in jails rather than in opportunity?

To explore these questions a range of speakers will address these issues from different perspectives.

  • Rev John Butler, Gemeinschaft Home, on costs of incarceration to individuals and families
  • Sabrina Burress / Dr. Darius Green, the ARROW Project, speaking on the mental health dimension
  • Tony Davenport, Chief Probation and Parole Officer for Virginia Department of Corrections, on the costs to the community when those incarcerated are unable to contribute financially, socially, entrepreneurially (TBC)
  • Dr Nancy Insco, The Institute for Reform and Solutions, on costs to the community of over-investing in the criminal legal / carceral system, rather than in other approaches to community safety and justice.
  • Hannah Wittmer, CAMRRJ, on research into the demographics of incarceration at MRRJ, as well as the status of expansion plans as of late August.

There will also be time for conversation around the implications for how to respond as a community to these challenges. Community groups working on related issues will set-up tables to share their efforts and enable networking


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