Thinking It Through:
Joe Amditis

Joe, I’m so happy that you had such an insight. That sounds like a really great idea for how to engage and build something special with your community.

  1. I was fortunate to attend Beyond the Bars, a weekend-long conference held by Columbia University devoted to reexamining how we think about every aspect of the (in)justice system. I focused on workshops and discussions around reintegration after incarceration. This allowed me to hear directly from my community about the struggles they face assimilating back into society and even their families after being incarcerated. One particularly powerful workshop actually simulated being a returning citizen in the form of a role-playing game. Each person received a backstory and a card representing everything you possess upon return. No ID in your envelope? Well you have to get one. I am considering writing about it further, but suffice it to say it was gripping and really eye-opening. Sources have also been very generous with their time and referrals. I have been able to engage a great deal in person. Tonight I actually attended my first precinct community council, heading to the 46th Precinct in the Bronx to see how the community (at least a small portion of it) attempts to police the police.
  2. Design thinking is constantly reminding me not to make assumptions. Additionally, as I like to point out, it is slowly pulling me from the mindset that insight is something out our control and toward the knowledge that insight comes from listening, engaging, trying, and failing. It keeps me pushing forward. When I think I know something, it encourages me to listen more and deeper. I have pinpointed three major issues worth pursuing now, and a big web is being spun from source to source to other issues and stories that are popping up. It is hard to talk about incarceration without integrating other issues, and the interplay between those issues and my community is keeping me very, very curious.