School of Law News

Peter Wagner Explores Hidden Costs of Mass Incarceration

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

p_wagner_l03jpgThe School of Law's Clason Speaker Series hosted Peter Wagner L’03, Executive Director of the Prison Policy Initiative, on February 10. His presentation was titled “Overdosing on Prisons: Tackling the side effects of the United States’ unprecedented use of the prison.” Wagner’s discussion focused on the hidden costs of mass incarceration on our democracy, our economy, and public safety. Wagner explained to an audience of law students and faculty, “We need good lawyers who are in the trenches of our broken prison system, to be the eyes and ears, not just for their clients, but also to expose the many problems that exist.” Wagner cofounded the Prison Policy Initiative in 2001 to build a Western New England independent study project into a national movement against prison gerrymandering. So far, his efforts have led to legislation protecting our democracy from the prison system in four states, including in Maryland where the law he helped write was affirmed by the Supreme Court. Wagner added, “Lawyers are both the cogs in our broken prison system and the keys to changing it!”

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