Justice

The Justice Organization Sharing Hope United for Action will be hosting a panel discussion focusing on an alternative vision to prison sentencing.

The discussion will attempt to answer questions such as: how does a judge decide how much time is necessary in a sentence? Are there other opportunities instead of incarceration and sitting in jail? How do judges, the district attorney’s office, and criminal defense attorneys go about their jobs knowing that Wisconsin has one of the highest rates of racial disparities in incarceration?

Answering those questions will hopefully lead to insights into some alternative solutions to some of the incarceration issues that Wisconsin is facing.

JOSHUA has been working to challenge the employment barriers for those who have a criminal record. Their campaign, titled Ban the Box, aims to eliminate discrimination towards job seekers who have served prison sentences.

Many job applications include a section where the applicant is asked to check a box if they have ever been charged with a prior felony, ordinance violation or misdemeanor. Checking the box often results in their application being disregarded, thus making it difficult for the applicant to find work and putting them at larger risk of going back to prison.

The campaign was successful in Brown County last October with a 20-6 vote and the box was removed from all applications.

Panelists for the event will include Deputy District Attorney Dana Johnson, the Honorable Judge Donald R. Zuidmulder and Criminal Defense Attorney Tara Teesch.

The panel will take place on Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. at the West Side Moravian Church located at 1707 S. Oneida St., in Green Bay, WI.

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