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Ronald Simpson-Bey says recent Correctional Leaders Association conference was “hopeful”

August 1, 2023

“Today, as the executive vice president of JustLeadershipUSA, [Ronald] Simpson-Bey is devoted to changing unjust and damaging practices in the United States prison system. Part of that work is ensuring that people with lived experience of the system have their voices heard about what will make life safer and more dignified behind bars. This includes both people who have been incarcerated and people who have worked in prison facilities.

“‘You need to have people who have been impacted by the criminal justice system at the table having these conversations,’ Simpson-Bey says. …

“In June, the Correctional Leaders Association (CLA), along with Arnold Ventures (AV) and the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, convened a conference to discuss persistent staffing shortages across the country. Included at the conference were One Voice United, a group of current and former correctional union leaders and staff, as well as JustLeadershipUSA, whose formerly incarcerated members voiced their experiences inside. …

“Simpson-Bey says the conference left him hopeful. It was a rare opportunity for people with lived experience of the prison system to work alongside correctional administrators on solutions to the problems that have affected both of their lives.

“‘Prison reform is not going to be sustainable until you change people’s hearts and minds, so it’s a good idea to have these high-level conversations between people who run prisons and people who were in prisons,’ Simpson-Bey says. ​‘The CLA conference was a perfect example, where we found out that we have way more in common than we have differences. People incarcerated, they want the same thing as people who work inside — they want to get home safe at the end of their stays, whole and unharmed, and return back to their families.’”

Read more at ArnoldVentures.org.

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