Rectify: The Power of Restorative Justice after Wrongful Convictions | Mechanics' Institute

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Rectify: The Power of Restorative Justice after Wrongful Convictions
Author Lara Bazelon in conversation with Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods

Thursday, July 25, 2019 - 6:30pm

In 2015, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that there were approximately 1,530,000 people in prison in the United States. “Using the most conservative estimate of wrongful convictions—1 percent—means that on any given day 15,300 innocent people are sitting in prison,” writes Lara Bazelon. In Rectify: The Power of Restorative Justice after Wrongful Conviction, Bazelon explores the extent of this issue, finding hope for reparation on all sides if these individuals and groups can come together in an attempt to heal not just themselves, but each other, through the practice of restorative justice,  a centuries-old practice of bringing together victims, offenders, and their respective communities.


Lara Bazelon is a writer and associate professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, where she is the Director of Criminal Juvenile Justice and Racial Justice Clinical Programs. A 2016 MacDowell Fellow and a 2017 Mesa Refuge Langeloth Fellow, she is the former director of the Loyola Law School Project for the Innocent. Bazelon is also a nonresident fellow with Brandeis University’s Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Atlantic, Washington Post, Politico, and Slate, where she is a contributing writer and has a long-running series about wrongful conviction cases.


Brendon Woods is a nationally recognized leader and innovator in public defense who has held positions of increasing responsibility in the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office. He is a Board Member and former President of the California Public Defenders Association and in 2016 was honored with the Harvard Law School Wasserstein Public Interest Fellowship for his outstanding public service accomplishments. From a young age, Brendon Woods had formative experiences with law enforcement, which influenced his views and steered him toward public defense. Now, he feels fortunate to fight for those who are battling systems of oppression and strives to reshape the discourse and nature of public defense and criminal justice as a whole.

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