The U.S. represents just 4% of the world's population, yet we lock up nearly 25% of the world's prisoners. Nationwide, Black and Latinx communities are over-represented in the system, and Vermont is no different. In Vermont, our incarceration rate has followed national trends, tripling since the 1980s and reinforcing systems of racial oppression. Within the picture of this national problem, local elected prosecutors, also known as district attorneys or state’s attorneys, play a critical and often unexamined role in our criminal justice system. They decide who is charged with a crime and who is free to go, who gets diversion for treatment of mental illness or addiction, and who goes to prison instead and for how long. As we prepare for the upcoming election of our state’s attorneys, the ACLU of Vermont invites you to a discussion about how to reform our criminal justice system and how we as voters can ask prosecutors to participate in reducing the number of people in our prison system.
Guest speakers to include James Duff Lyall, Executive Director of the ACLU-VT and criminal justice reform advocate, Ashley Sawyer of ACLU’s Smart Justice Campaign.