Professor Sellers to serve as panelist at the annual Conflict Resolution Day Film Fest sponsored by the Dispute Resolution Center
Oct. 20, 2016 at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.) at Washtenaw Community College Morris Lawrence Building
"Prison Kids: A Crime Against America's Children," features interviews with people who spent their youth in the juvenile justice system. The result is an hour-long documentary — narrated by actress Gabourey Sidibe — that not only tells their personal stories, but exposes the far-reaching tentacles of a system that statistics show leads to increased probability of adult incarceration, sexual victimization, and suicide for the minors who are tangled in it.
For many, their journey begins early in school, where the criminalization of behaviors previously dealt with by counseling within educational settings has now, via zero tolerance policies, constructed the school-to-prison pipeline in which children are funneled out of education and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems for a growing number of infractions. Unfortunately, thousands of these youth are now routinely waived to the adult criminal court, barred from juvenile court jurisdiction, due to statutory exclusion laws and other forms of automatic juvenile transfer, regardless of whether it is their first offense. Once incarcerated, these youth are likely to face the dismal conditions of solitary confinement, which exacerbates preexisting mental illness, cultivates new psychoses, and increases levels of aggression and hostility in these isolated and forgotten youth.
The DRC hopes to educate the community on the impact of zero tolerance policies. After the film, Executive Director Belinda Dulin, will moderate a panel of experts on the issues surrounding zero tolerance policies in schools, including House Bill No. 4697, and how restorative justice practices can be a viable alternative. Confirmed panelists include: Rodd Monts (Michigan ACLU), Amy McLoughlin (Ann Arbor Skyline High School), Dr. Brian Sellers (EMU Criminology Professor), and Laura Chapman, MSW (Clinical Therapist).
This event is LBC approved and will count as LBC Group 3, Option A. Tickets: $15. Read the flyer [PDF].