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Punishment & Profit: Personnel

Punishment & Profit

Originally Aired: Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Available for viewing

Overview

Private personnel corporations supply and train a wide range of correctional staff for prisons in roles with great amounts of responsibility and power, from officers to healthcare workers. Investigative reporters have uncovered instances where these agencies hired doctors who’ve lost their medical licenses or used mock riots to train officers to kill. Join us to hear firsthand experiences with these corporations and about opportunities for change.

Guest speakers include journalists Danny Robbins and Scott Morris, policy advocate Insha Rahman (Vera Institute of Justice), and incarcerated activist Talib Williams (We Bring Change). Worth Rises’ Executive Director Bianca Tylek hosts.

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.

Talib Williams is an incarcerated author, journalist, spoken word artist and co-founder of We Bring Change, a nonprofit organization dedicated to prison abolition. A Bay Area native, Talib is a regular contributor to the San Francisco Bayview National Black Newspaper and has been featured in the Monterey Bay Weekly for his unique approach to current events as an incarcerated Muslim feminist. Talib has been incarcerated since he was a child and has used his time in prison towards becoming the best version of himself. Today, at the age of 35 Talib is married to the love of his life, has published three books, and has facilitated a toxic masculinity workshop for incarcerated people, which was the subject of a CNN documentary on Soledad State Prison called “The Feminist on Cellblock Y”.

Scott Morris has covered policing, protest and civil rights in the Bay Area for a decade. He has written features on policing for the East Bay Express, the Appeal, Berkeleyside and Oakland Magazine. Most recently, Morris helped launch Open Vallejo, a new nonprofit investigative journalism outlet, and partnered with ProPublica and the Bay City News Foundation to cover fraud allegations by utility contractors and corruption in state regulatory agencies.

Insha Rahman is the vice president of advocacy and partnerships at the Vera Institute, one of the largest justice reform organizations in the country. She is a nationally recognized expert on bail and the criminal legal system. Before coming to Vera, she was a public defender in the Bronx.

Danny Robbins is an investigative journalist based in Dallas currently concentrating on several film and print projects. He previously was a member of the investigative team at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where his reporting on the deaths of women in the Georgia prison system led to numerous reforms and won the Atlanta Press Club’s Award of Excellence for coverage of civil and human rights. He also was one of the lead reporters on the newspaper’s ground-breaking series on sexual abuse by physicians, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in national reporting in 2017.

Before working in Atlanta, Robbins was an investigative reporter for the Associated Press in Dallas and at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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