A nationally recognized expert in criminal justice reform with 30 years of frontline experience as a lawyer, advocate and consultant, Sunny Schwartz has spent her career navigating all levels of the system and pioneering new policy initiatives for prisoner’s programs, as well as alternatives to incarceration. She is the author of Dreams from the Monster Factory, Hard cover Published 2009, Paperback version published 2010, which gives a comprehensive insider’s perspective on America’s failing prison system and recounts her own real-world implementation of a targeted strategy that both saves taxpayers’ money and dramatically reduces recidivism.
Sunny directs the design and operation of prisoner programs in six county jails. During her tenure, she has made significant changes to traditional incarceration operations, transitioning from an ineffectual system rooted in idling and “downtime” to one that requires inmates to participate in educational, vocational and therapeutic programs 10 hours a day, five days a week. The specific goals of these programs are to facilitate successful reentry into society in a way that addresses the gaps and shortcomings of the old system (and to decrease further victimization on individuals and our community as a whole.)
Sunny also designed and established the Resolve To Stop the Violence Project (RSVP). A nationally renowned, award-winning restorative justice program, RSVP unites diverse community organizations and individuals to collaborate on the first–in–the nation correctional program offering services to everyone harmed by violence: victims, offenders, and communities, alike. As part of the program, Schwartz chartered a citywide Survivor Restoration Advisory Committee, comprised of representatives from local government agencies, non-profit organizations and the interfaith community. Committee members demonstrated support by adopting alternative and proactive responses to crime and violence, such as mentorship, victim-offender mediation and the development of sentencing options.
Sunny’s presentations and programmatic expertise are bold and diverse, and have proven to be highly effective. Her efforts to reform the criminal justice system and minimize crime through RSVP have been featured on national television, with appearances on the Discovery Channel, PBS, Larry King Live and the Oprah Winfrey Show. Her program is currently being examined for replication in various cities throughout the United States, as well as in New Zealand, Poland and Singapore. In July of 2004, RSVP was the recipient of the prestigious “Oscar’s in Government” Innovations in Government Award, sponsored by the Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University and the Ash Institute.
Thursday, April 18th 5pmPST/8pEST--
Kathy Kelly, Coordinator Voices for Creative NonViolence
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Kathy Kelly co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence, (www.vcnv.org) a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare.
During each of nine recent trips to Afghanistan, Kathy Kelly, as an invited guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, has lived alongside ordinary Afghan people in a working class neighborhood in Kabul. She and her companions in Voices for Creative Nonviolence believe that “where you stand determines what you see.”
They are resolved not to let war sever the bonds of friendship between them and Afghan people whom they’ve grown to know through successive delegations. Kelly and her companions insist that the U.S. is not waging a “humanitarian war” in Afghanistan.
Kelly has also joined with activists in various regions of the country to protest drone warfare by holding demonstrations outside of U.S. military bases in Nevada, upstate New York, and, most recently, at Whiteman Air Force base in Missouri.
From 1996 – 2003, Voices activists formed 70 delegations that openly defied economic sanctions by bringing medicines to children and families in Iraq. Kathy and her companions lived in Baghdad throughout the 2003 “Shock and Awe” bombing. They have also lived alongside people during warfare in Gaza, Lebanon, Bosnia and Nicaragua.
She was sentenced to one year in federal prison for planting corn on nuclear missile silo sites (1988-89) and spent three months in prison, in 2004, for crossing the line at Fort Benning’s military training school. As a war tax refuser, she has refused payment of all forms of federal income tax since 1980.
For more information visit: http://vcnv.org/speaker-bio/kathy-kelly
Thursday, April 25th 5pmPST/8pEST
Alan Huffman, Author of Here I Am a biography of the profound life and tragic death of Humanitarian and Co Director of RESTREPO, Tim Hetherington