Mason Collaborates with Sen. Webb, Prison Fellowship on Incarceration Symposium

Posted: January 10, 2011 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: January 18, 2011 at 7:32 am

By James Greif

George Mason University’s Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence (ACE) will host “Undoing the Effects of Mass Incarceration: Alternative Approaches,” a free, public symposium on Friday, Jan. 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Mason Inn Conference Center and Hotel located on Mason’s Fairfax Campus.

open jail door

Photo by bvisser, www.urban-travel.org

The symposium is offered in collaboration with the Office of Sen. Jim Webb and Prison Fellowship, a national prison ministry that reaches out to prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families to focus on prisoner reentry into the community.

The symposium will look at U.S. policies that have led to mass incarceration and overcriminalization and the consequences for society and government budgets. Presenters from academia and national, state and local organizations will also discuss ways to improve public safety while reducing offending behaviors and taxpayer costs.

“Research has shown that the U.S. incarceration system is among the most costly and least effective in the world,” says Faye Taxman, director of ACE and University Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society. “Our center and department are committed to engaging the community in evidence-based policy solutions and embracing practices that have less adverse consequences and result in more effective punishments and treatment of criminals at a reduced cost to taxpayers.”

  • Webb, a leading voice in Congress on criminal justice reform, will moderate morning sessions regarding the effects of incarceration and the proposed National Criminal Justice Commission.
  • Harold Clarke, newly appointed director of the Virginia Department of Corrections, will also present at the symposium in the afternoon.
  • Chief Judge Dennis J. Smith of Fairfax Circuit Court will discuss impending strategies to improve community safety.
  • Jane Brown from the Office of Gov. Bob McDonnell will discuss the new reentry local councils.
  • June Tangney, University Professor of psychology at Mason, will address the psychological treatment of prisoners.

Participants include researchers and practitioners from Prison Fellowship, University of Delaware, University of Maryland, Angola Prison (Louisiana), Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Virginia Office of the Governor and others.

A complete agenda is available online.

The symposium marks an ongoing collaboration between Webb’s office and Mason’s Department of Criminology, Law and Society in organizing public discussions about new strategies to improve public safety and improve policy outcomes. In 2008, Taxman collaborated on Webb’s symposium on drug trafficking, policy and sentencing that took place at Mason.

Write to mediarel at gazette@gmu.edu