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Abolition Democracy 9/13: Prison Abolition
Reginald Dwayne Betts, Angela Davis*, Ian Manuel, Allegra McLeod, and Bernard E. Harcourt read and discuss Angela Davis's Are Prisons Obsolete? and Allegra McLeod's “Prison Abolition and Grounded Justice” by Allegra McLeod.

Feb 4, 2021 06:15 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Reginald Dwayne Betts
Reginald Dwayne Betts says he discovered poetry in solitary confinement. Betts was convicted for using a pistol to carjack a man when he was 16 years old. He was sentenced as an adult and served more than eight years in an adult prison. After he was incarcerated, Betts earned degrees from Prince George’s Community College, the University of Maryland, Warren Wilson College and Yale Law School. He was appointed by President Obama to the Coordinating Council of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. His writing has won numerous awards, including a National Magazine Award in 2018. His new collection of poems is called “Felon.”
Ian Manuel
At age 13, Ian Manuel was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for attempted murder after his participation in a botched robbery. Manuel served 26 years in prison until Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative secured his release in 2016, 18 of which (starting at age 15) were in solitary confinement. While incarcerated, Manuel began writing poetry, which he credits for keeping him sane and giving him hope, and he also befriended his victim, who is now one of his closest friends and fiercest advocates. In his powerful and moving lectures, Manuel shares the story of his crime and discusses his experience with the US criminal justice system, his poetry, and what justice and redemption really mean.
Allegra McLeod
Allegra McLeod is a professor of law at Georgetown Law. Allegra’s research and teaching interests include criminal law and procedure, immigration law, international and comparative law, and legal and political theory. She has taught political theory at Stanford University, served as a consulting attorney with the Stanford Immigrants’ Rights and Criminal Defense Clinics, worked with the ACLU National Prison Project and clerked for Judge M. Margaret McKeown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.