Let’s talk about the criminal justice system

Photograph by Raymond Thompson, from the series “A Dream Denied”

This March, Medium is hosting a community-wide conversation about criminal justice reform — and we need you to help us get the word out.

Why are we doing this?

Because there’s timely legislation — the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act — that’s waiting to be voted on by the Senate. The bill would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders, give judges greater authority over sentencing, decrease recidivism, and limit juvenile solitary confinement. A whole bunch of senators — Cory Booker, Chris Coons, John Cornyn, Senator Tom Cotton, Senator Orrin Hatch, Mike Lee, Senator David Perdue, Tim Scott, Chuck Schumer, and Sheldon Whitehouse — have been debating and revising this bill since October.

At Medium, we believe that meaningful conversation — connecting with and building upon ideas — can make a real impact. It can move thinking forward. That’s why we wanted to bring people from every side of this debate here, on Medium.

What’s happening?

We’re kicking off this Medium-wide conversation on Monday, Feb. 29, and it will last for two weeks. The focus is on mandatory-minimum sentencing and the war on drugs, though we’ll cover other aspects of criminal justice reform too, like juvenile justice, policing, and prison reform. A range of voices — from experts to people who have been incarcerated to those who work inside the judicial system — will be sharing their personal experiences as well as their thoughts on how we might reform our criminal justice system.

We’ve invited organizations, like American Progress (CAP), The Sentencing Project, and The Pew Charitable Trusts, media outlets, such as AJ+, The Marshall Project, and Timeline, JJIE, FreedomWorks, and community publications, like Those People and Vantage, to help us get the conversation started. You’ll also hear personal experiences from a wide range of individuals: people in prison, others who were formerly incarcerated, lawyers, San Francisco Public Defenders, and a former Sergeant of the San Francisco Police Department (just to name a few).

On March 9 and 10, we’re hosting the first Medium Town Hall.

Imagine a live-blogging event: panel discussions bringing the best and brightest minds together to talk about the problems within the criminal justice system and how we might go about solving them. But we need you — the people of Medium — to make this a real Town Hall meeting. Your questions, reactions, responses are what’s going to fuel this event and make it awesome.

Photo by Isadora Kosofsky from the series “Life and Incarceration of a Family”

Here’s how you can join

Follow and use these tags! Our main tag is Criminal Justice Reform. This is where the conversation is going to be happening. Check out War on Drugs, Prison Reform, Police, and Mandatory Minimums too.

Post! Respond! Whether you want to write a new piece, respond to stories you find in your stream, or cross-post something you’ve written about this topic in the past, we want to hear from you.

Like I mentioned, we’re focused on mandatory minimums, policing reform, and the war on drugs, but we welcome anything that addresses other aspects of criminal justice reform too.

Highlight! Recommend! Share! If you like what you read, don’t be afraid to show some love by recommending the piece. Highlight the sentences and paragraphs that speak the most to you and share stories with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Join our Town Hall! We’ll publish a schedule of the panel discussions next week so that you can start thinking about what questions you’d like to ask. Follow our Town Hall publication to get email updates and check out our new Medium Politics account on Facebook and Twitter to get reminders about when this event is happening and how you can participate.

Have a question? Here’s how to reach us.

If you have questions about the Town Hall, this project (or anything else), respond to this post so that we can help you (and everyone else) out!

For everything you’ve done and everything you will do — thank you from all of us here at Medium.