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On July 15, the Class of 2020 gathered for another virtual program session to explore several facets of criminal justice: the school to prison pipeline, mass incarceration, and community policing. It was a powerful day.

The session began with an interactive presentation and discussion with Leon Smith and Kate Lowenstein of Citizens for Juvenile Justice on the school to prison pipeline. Leon and Kate presented research and data from Massachusetts and Bristol County on the factors that lead youth to go from being vulnerable children with multiple trauma exposures, to children being pushed along, excluded, and punished for behaviors related to their trauma.

Later, the class participated in an engaging World Café-style discussion on the documentary film, 13th. Class members explored a number of themes presented in the film, such as mass criminalization, incarceration as an industry, punishment for profit, and the Black Lives Matter movement. The class also discussed the next capacity of our Positive Leadership curriculum, reason, which was particularly relevant and useful to our discussion on the film.

Our day concluded with a one-on-one conversation about community policing with New Bedford Chief of Police, Joseph Cordeiro. The Chief discussed how the practice of community policing has far-reaching implications for reinvigorating communities, bridging divides, deterring crime, and creating vital neighborhoods. Class members appreciated the Chief’s honest and frank discussion about the progress being made and the real challenges present in making the practice of community policing a reality in New Bedford. 

Thank you to all of our speakers for joining the session and sharing their experience and insights with the class. And, a huge thank you to the Class of 2020 who continue to show up and actively engage in our virtual sessions. #AllInThisTogether #LSC2020

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