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Punishment & Profit: Data and Information Systems

Punishment & Profit

Originally Aired: Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Available for viewing

Overview

Much has been written about the increasing surveillance of everyday people, across the world and here in the U.S. Inside our prisons, corporations are introducing algorithms and technologies, from risk assessment tools to facial recognition software. These new technologies have proven error-prone with a disproportionate impact on Black and Brown people. Join us to hear about the power and impact of these data systems and the work being done to restore civil liberties for those behind bars.

This program will feature Bernard E. Harcourt, the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science at Columbia University, journalist Debbie Nathan, Advocate against immigration detention and criminalization, Paromita Shah and writer/organizer Josmar Trujillo. 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.

Bernard E. Harcourt

Credit: Photo provided by guest

Bernard E. Harcourt is the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. He is the author of Critique & Praxis: A Critical Philosophy (Columbia, 2020), The Counterrevolution (Basic Books, 2018), and Against Prediction: Profiling, Policing and Punishing in an Actuarial Age (Chicago 2007). Harcourt started his legal career representing death row inmates at the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, and still today continues to represent persons sentenced to death and life imprisonment without parole. He is the recipient of the 2019 Norman Redlich Capital Defense Distinguished Service Award from the NYC Bar Association for his longtime advocacy on behalf of death row prisoners.

Debbie Nathan

Credit: Photo provided by guest

Debbie Nathan is a long time journalist who writes about moral panics in criminal justice, immigration policy, and mental health theory and practice. She is the author of Satan’s Silence: Ritual Abuse and the Making of a Modern American Witch Hunt, Pornography: A Groundwork Guide, Women and Other Aliens, and Sybil Exposed. She is currently working on a graphic novel about the history of US immigration law. She lives on the US-Mexico border.

Paromita Shah

Credit: Photo provided by guest

For over 20 years, Paromita Shah has specialized in strategies to combat immigration detention, enforcement and criminalization. Her focus is on designing legal support and litigation with grassroots and organizing groups.  She has created dozens of advocacy resources for immigrant communities impacted by policing and immigration enforcement, including Deportation 101, detainer policies, know your rights, gangs, and technology surveillance. Previously, Paromita Shah served as the Associate Director of the NIPNLG, the Detention Project Director at Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition in Washington, DC and a staff attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services. She is a graduate of Suffolk Law School and McGill University in Montreal, QC.

Josmar Trujillo

Credit: Photo provided by guest

Josmar Trujillo is a writer and organizer based in New York City. He has organized around education, disaster recovery and policing. He currently organizes with the Coalition to End Broken Windows. He has written for the Village Voice, NY Daily News, Newsday, Crain’s, Truth Out and SchoolBook. He has recurring columns at amNY and City Limits. He also blogs at the Huffington Post and Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). He lives in Spanish Harlem with his three children.

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