Prison Reform: Learning from AMEND [NACDL Engage & Exchange x Decarceration Committee]

Prison Reform: Learning from AMEND’s Research and Reform Approaches. Presented by David Cloud, AMEND at UCSF, San Francisco, CA and Jerry Buting, moderator, Buting, Williams & Stilling, S.C., Brookfield, WI


David Cloud, Research Director of AMEND, a University of California, San Francisco-based organization will discuss AMEND’s unique approach to reforming prison culture. In an incredibly informative event facilitated by defense lawyer and author Jerry Buting, Mr. Cloud will address training prison staff in Norway’s correctional principles, and the public health, medical ethics, occupational health, and international human rights aspects of prison reform. Correctional staff also face related mental and physical harm (such as severe depression, suicide, trauma, moral injury). Prison staff are taught to employ progression, in which people are gradually given more responsibility and freedom as they work hard and become increasingly motivated, and normalization, where punishment is only deprivation of liberty, and prisons resemble life outside to ease the return to their communities. AMEND’s pilot programs have been met with great success. For example, staff at a new North Dakota “supermax” facility act more like educators and social workers, meeting the needs of the highest risk individuals and drawing them out with meaningful activities. Pilot programs in Oregon, California, and Washington also helped residents effectively reintegrate into the community.

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