Local church hosting program on need for prison reform

From staff reports

America incarcerates more people than any other nation in the world, and the South is America’s incarceration center. A public presentation on the issue – “Need For Prison Reform In America” – is scheduled for 10 a.m., Sunday May 22, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Beaufort (UUFB), at 178 Sams Pt. Road, Lady’s Island. All are welcome.

Sentencing policies implemented between the 1970’s and 1990’s have filled prisons beyond capacity, and Black and brown communities have been hit the hardest. In South Carolina today, prisons have become repositories for many of the most vulnerable people in society – those diagnosed with serious mental illness, struggling with addiction, or scarred from a lifetime of trauma and abuse.

Sunday’s presentation is part of the UUFB Sunday service and will address the intersection of race, poverty and the criminal legal system today. Presenter Shirene Hansotia will lead a discussion on how we got to where we are today, and what we can do to reverse these trends and create a more just and equitable society.

Hansotia, born and raised in Wisconsin, earned her undergraduate degrees in Journalism, Political Science and African Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; her master’s degree in Public Policy Administration from Michigan State University; and a Juris Doctor from Charleston School of Law. She says those sent to South Carolina prisons face prolonged lockdowns that last months and even years, a dire lack of medical and mental health care, and substandard food and conditions.

Hansotia was a public defender for several years but has since been seeking structural change through lobbying, advocacy and litigation; first at ACLU of South Carolina and now as the state director of Root & Rebound, an organization that works to restore power and resources to the families and communities most harmed by mass incarceration through legal advocacy, public education, policy reform and litigation. For more information visit www.rootandrebound.org.

For more information or to join via Zoom visit www.uubeaufort.org.


What: Public Presentation of “Need For Prison Reform In America”

When: 10 a.m., Sunday, May 22

Where: Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Beaufort, 178 Sams Pt. Road, Lady’s Island

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