EVENTS. The Deason Center helps educate local and national communities about criminal justice reform. Working with national criminal justice activists, like Van Jones, and local reformers, like Evelyn Fulbright, the Deason Center offers cutting- edge programs that ignite important conversations and advance community engagement.
THE DEASON CENTER’S RURAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE RESOURCE
To support rural criminal justice communities, the Deason Center has launched a two-year pilot Rural Criminal Justice Resource program. The RCJR will allow those in rural communities to learn more about rural innovations, connect with rural justice stakeholders around the nation, and explore research and funding opportunities. Interested criminal justice stakeholders can obtain RCJR support by phone (214-768-RCJR) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
A CONVERSATION WITH CALVIN DUNCAN
Calvin Duncan, the “jailhouse lawyer” who propelled Louisiana’s nonunanimous jury rule to the Supreme Court, came to the SMU Dedman School of Law in October, 2019. SMU students joined members of the Dallas community to hear Mr. Duncan speak. Mr. Duncan told the audience about his childhood in New Orleans, the circumstances that led to his wrongful conviction, and his work as inmate counsel for incarcerated men at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Mr. Duncan also offered advice to the aspiring lawyers in the room: “Tell your clients the truth, but leave them some hope. Yes, you might have to deliver bad news, but give that news with a little bit of hope. Promise that you will keep trying, because those men in [prison] are struggling and hope is their lifeline.”
2019 RURAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE SUMMIT
The Deason Center’s second national Rural Criminal Justice Summit was designed to inspire and sustain research and innovation in rural criminal justice communities. Stakeholders came from 30 states and included judges, court managers, prosecutors, police, sheriffs, defense attorneys, corrections professionals, reentry counselors, and formerly incarcerated people, as well as academic researchers and national justice funders. Together, Summit participants considered new approaches to the intersection of substance use disorder, mental illness, and criminal justice in rural settings.
POLICING IN DALLAS: CAN DEMOCRATIC POLICING WORK?
Democratic policing involves giving the public a say in how it is policed. Professor Friedman, Director of the Policing Project at New York University School of Law, and author of Unwarranted: Policing Without Permission, came to SMU Dedman School of Law in September of 2019 to explain how democratic policing can help. Professor Friedman also discussed the work the Policing Project is doing around the country on community engagement, policing technologies, and reimagining public safety.
2018 RURAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE SUMMIT
Rural communities confront unique criminal justice challenges. Solving those challenges will require research and reform tailored to the unique institutional, structural, and demographic characteristics of rural criminal justice systems. In November of 2018, the Deason Center convened the first national, multi-stakeholder summit on rural criminal justice reform.
CNN political commentator Van Jones and Dallas businessman Doug Deason united as leading voices from the left and right, respectively, for “Unlikely Allies: The Nonpartisan Fight for Criminal Justice Reform” at SMU Dedman School of Law’s Karcher Auditorium on Friday, August 18, 2018.
INDIGENT DEFENSE RESEARCH ASSOCIATION
The Indigent Defense Research Association (“IDRA”) is a national organization dedicated to data-driven research of the indigent defense function. In July of 2018, the Deason Center gathered IDRA representatives to help plan for the Association’s future.