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Punishment & Profit: Architecture & Construction

Punishment & Profit

Originally Aired: Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Available for viewing

Overview

Prisons, like all buildings, are designed by architects who blueprint space, light (or darkness), materials, and more. Contractors turn their blueprints into live structures with sometimes thousands of small cells that hold people for months, years, and decades. Today some architects are refusing to design prisons, activists are opposing new construction, and urban designers are rethinking infrastructure’s core function, asking: How can facilities and urban space facilitate renewal, empowerment — and even freedom? Join us to learn more.

Guest speakers include: advocate Johnny Perez (Director of U.S. Prison Program at National Religious Coalition Against Torture), architect Raphael Sperry (Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility), organizer Eunisses Hernandez (La Defensa and #JusticeLA), and designer Deanna Van Buren (Designing Justice + Designing Spaces). Worth Rises’s Executive Director Bianca Tylek hosts.

 

Leadership support for The Greene Space’s Artist-in-Residence program is provided by:

MetLife

Worth Rises is a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to dismantling the prison industry and ending the exploitation of those it touches. The organization exposes the commercialization of the criminal legal system and advocates and organizes to protect and return the economic resources extracted from affected communities and strip the industry of its power. Through this work, Worth Rises is helping to clear the road toward a safe and just world free of police and prisons. Find out more at worthrises.org.

Credit: Photo provided by guest

Bianca is the Founder and Executive Director of Worth Rises, combining her direct experience with the criminal legal system and expertise in financial and legal services to challenge the prison industry.

Before founding Worth Rises in 2017, Bianca was a legal fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, where she investigated the perverse financial incentives created by correctional funding. Previously, Bianca also worked with various state and local corrections agencies, including New York City, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. Most notably, in New York City, she drafted the young adult plan that eliminated solitary confinement for young adults 21 years old and younger—a first in the nation.

Bianca has also consulted to the Association of State Correctional Administrators and worked for the Campaign to End Mass Incarceration at the American Civil Liberties Union. Bianca co-founded College Pathways at Rikers Island, a preparation program for incarcerated students interested in pursuing higher education. 

Before committing her career to the struggle for justice, Bianca worked as a financial analyst at Citigroup and Morgan Stanley. 

Bianca has been honored as a Draper Rickard Kaplan Entrepreneur, Art for Justice Fellow, TED Fellow, Equal Justice Works Fellow, Harvard University Presidential Public Service Fellow, Ford Foundation Public Interest Fellow, Paul & Daisy Soros New American Fellow, and an Education Pioneers Analyst Fellow. Bianca holds a B.A. from Columbia University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Image provided by guest

Drawing on the wisdom of thirteen years of direct involvement with the criminal justice system, Mr. Johnny Perez works as the Director of the U.S. Prisons Program for the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, an interfaith membership organization comprised of 325 religious organizations working to end U.S.-sponsored torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Through his leadership, Mr. Perez coordinates NRCAT’s existing campaign efforts to end the torture of solitary confinement, adding value and strategic insight to building the capacity of faith leaders and directly impacted communities to engage in education and legislative advocacy across the United States.

Credit: Photo provided by guest

Eunisses Hernandez is a policy advocate and campaign strategist with over 5 years of experience in working with local and state legislators, system actors, and communities most devastated by criminalization, the war on drugs, and mass incarceration.   Eunisses has been a leader in helping develop and implement sentencing reforms and sentence enhancement abolition policies. Her efforts have led to the repeal and reform some of the most devastating tough on crime policies in California. Most recently, she has been a leader in the JusticeLA jail fight that stopped a $3.5 billion dollar jail plan in Los Angeles County. Eunisses has extensive experience in developing and implementing alternatives to incarceration. Most recently, she was appointed as a voting member to the Los Angeles County Alternatives to Incarceration Work Group and Co-chair of the Community Based System of Care AD HOC.

 

Eunisses is an alum of the Women’s Policy Institute Local Government and State Policy fellowship programs. In 2017, she was named one of the 40 Under 40 Emerging Civic Leaders by the Empowerment Congress and the Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas. Eunisses holds a BA in Criminal Justice from California State University, Long Beach and currently resides in Los Angeles.

Credit: Photo provided by guest

Raphael Sperry is an architect, sustainable building consultant, and human rights advocate. He is a leader of Architects / Designers / Planners for Social Responsibility, where he leads a national campaign to ban the design of spaces that violate human rights, and a board member of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, the first architecture and development firm dedicated to ending mass incarceration through building restorative alternatives. He is an Associate at Arup, where he consults on net positive design for projects that regenerate energy, water and natural systems.

Credit: Photo provided by guest

Deanna Van Buren is the Executive Director, Design Director, and Co-Founder of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, and one of only 500 black female architects in the U.S. She is a nationally-known advocate for magnifying the role of design for ending mass incarceration, and her work includes the creation of multi-use hubs for restorative justice and workforce development across the country. Deanna received her BS in architecture from the University of Virginia and her MArch from Columbia University, and she is an alumna of the Loeb Fellowship at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

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