Lecture: 'Youth, Race, and the Failures of the American Justice System'
September 28, 2016
Room: Cape Cod Lounge
UMass Amherst Campus
The History Department's Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series presents Reginald Dwayne Betts speaking on “The Circumference of a Prison: Youth, Race, and the Failures of the American Justice System.”
Arrested at age 16, Betts served eight years in an adult prison, coming of age behind bars. Today, Betts uses his experiences to speak about the current state of the criminal justice system—including sentencing juveniles as adults, solitary confinement, maximum security prisons, the collateral consequences of a criminal record—and presents promising ideas for reform.
Betts is author of two collections of poetry, the critically acclaimed “Bastards of the Reagan Era” and “Shahid Read His Own Palm” and a memoir, “A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison.” He is the national spokesperson for the Campaign for Youth Justice, a graduate of Yale Law School, a PEN New England Award winner, and the recipient of a Soros Justice Fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship, a Ruth Lily Fellowship, and an NAACP Image Award. Betts has been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker and the Washington Post.
Book signing to follow. Books will be available to purchase at the event courtesy of Amherst Books.
The UMass Student Center is a short distance from the Campus Parking Garage (1 Campus Center Way, off of Commonwealth Ave). Free parking vouchers will be provided at the event. The UMass Amherst Student is wheelchair accessible. Please note, this event has moved from the Cape Cod Lounge to the Student Union Ballroom. The ballroom is directly adjacent to the lounge in the UMass Student Union. Bus Schedule | Campus Map | Directions to the Parking Garage | Accessible Parking
Young people of all ages are welcome at this event and all Feinberg Series events. There will be a kids play area with crayons in the lecture hall. Stipends are available to support transportation for bringing groups of young adults to the event. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.