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Appalachian Justice Initiative panel to explore mass incarceration

November 1 panel is held in conjunction with a photography exhibit, The Divide.

WVU Law - The Divide - photo credit Raymond Thompson
Photos by Raymond Thompson.

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA - The Appalachian Justice Initiative (AJI) at West Virginia University is hosting a discussion about mass incarceration on November 1 at 5 p.m. in the Event Hall at the WVU College of Law.

Panelists for “Mass Incarceration in Appalachia” include Jeri Kirby, assistant professor of criminal justice at Fairmont State University; Betsy Jividen, First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia; Rich MacAllaster, president of the re-entry organization Recidivism Zero (RZero); and Raymond Thompson, a WVU multimedia producer and freelance photographer.

WVU law professor Valena Beety , director of the West Virginia Innocence Project, will serve as moderator.  

 “AJI is about recognizing and listening to the voices of all of our community members, including those most stigmatized, such as Appalachian prisoners and former offenders,” said Beety, a founding member of AJI.

The panel discussion is being held in conjunction with The Divide, a photography exhibit by Thompson that documents the journeys made by families from Virginia to visit their relatives incarcerated in Appalachia.

The Divide is on display at WVU’s George R. Farmer, Jr. Law Library and  Downtown Campus Library through December 2017. The downtown library exhibit includes recordings by Sylvia Ryerson, an audio producer based in Brooklyn, New York.

Established earlier this year at the WVU College of Law, AJI seek to address poverty in West Virginia and provide enhanced legal services and education to West Virginians most in need.


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