The theme of this year's speaker series is Myths of Public Safety. Myths abound about what public safety is and how it is achieved. These myths have been the basis of efforts toward mass incarceration, aided in the destruction of lives and communities, and fed huge racial disparities—all the while, research shows, making the public less safe.

We were joined by guests who have helped to debunk these myths. Through discussions about both lived experience and innovative research, we hope to guide policymakers, practitioners, advocates, researchers, and community members in envisioning new practices, procedures, and policies that will bring about safe and thriving communities for all.

This spring our focus was Parole:

Mass Supervision: Fix it, Shrink it, or Abolish it?
Vincent Schiraldi, 
Secretary of Juvenile Services, State of Maryland
Wednesday, February 15

What Process is Due? Community Organizing to Transform Parole
Michelle Lewin
, Executive Director, Parole Preparation Project
Anthony Dixon, Director of Community Engagement, Parole Preparation Project
Lisa Berland, Volunteer with Parole Watch Massachusetts
Wednesday, March 22

Presumptive Parole: New Jersey’s Experience and the Need for Continued Reform
Joseph J. Russo
, First Assistant Public Defender, New Jersey Office of the Public Defender
Alicia Hubbard, Assistant Deputy Public Defender, New Jersey Office of the Public Defender
Wednesday, April 12

Parole and Reentry Start Inside: How Institutional Rules, Discipline, and Programs Drive Racial Disparities in Parole
LaToya Whiteside
, Director of Racial Equity in Corrections Initiative at Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts
Jasmin Borges, Formerly Incarcerated Expert and Activist, Advocate, and Organizer, Massachusetts Bail Fund
Wednesday, April 26

Does Perpetual Punishment Produce Safety? Executive Mercy and Access to Clemency 
Rachel Barkow
, Charles Seligson Professor of Law; Faculty Director, Peter L. Zimroth Center on the Administration of Criminal Law, NYU School of Law
Wednesday, May 10



Katy Naples-MitchellKaty Naples-Mitchell, Program Director of the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, is the moderator and co-organizer  of  the Myths of  Public Safety speaker series.


Sandra Susan Smith Sandra Susan Smith, is the co-organizer of the The Myths of  Public Safety speaker series. She is the Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice; Faculty Director of the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management; Director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy; Professor of Sociology and Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute.