September 6, 2016 – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia) and other city officials were among those who recently gathered at the School of Continuing Studies to address the needs of formerly incarcerated women re-entering society.
The daylong Aug. 25 conference, attended by many of these women, was sponsored by the Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizen Affairs.
The conference featured sessions on trauma services, mental health services and family reunification services with service providers from the District of Columbia and representatives from the federal government and nonprofit sectors.
“Whether through the focus on criminal justice reform taking place at the Law Center, work with court-involved youth at the Center for Social Justice or shining a spotlight on the tragedy of mass incarceration through the Prisons and Justice Initiative, Georgetown shares the commitment to building a more just world for those who have come into contact with the criminal justice system,” says Christopher Murphy, vice president for government relations and community engagement.
The conference also featured remarks from SCS Dean Kelly Otter as well as Holmes Norton, who earlier this year helped get a bill passed that would make D.C.’s returning citizens eligible for benefits under a new program for Federal Bureau of Prison inmates.
That program provides incentives and rewards for prisoners who participate in recidivism reduction programs.
Other conference speakers included Nancy Ware, director of D.C.’s Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency; Avis Buchanan, director of public defender services; Patricia Smoot, chair of the U.S. Parole Commission; and Mannone Butler, executive director of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.
“Women are so critical to making sure that our communities and families are strong,” Ware said.
“The School of Continuing Studies was honored to host the conference, which aligns with the school’s mission to serve the local D.C. community by providing educational experiences for students of all ages and education levels and that align with important societal needs,” Otter explained.
Murphy added that convening the conference at Georgetown is rooted in the university’s Catholic and Jesuit tradition of social justice.
“By helping to bring together so many great minds on this topic, we hope the conference produced meaningful and lasting progress in addressing some of the challenges women face upon re-entry into society,” Murphy said.