Updated May 25, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on criminal justice reform

On Tuesday, May 25, as part of Axios' Hard Truths series, Axios justice & race reporter Russell Contreras and business reporter Hope King unpacked how the pattern of sentencing disparities for people of color affects people from childhood to adulthood, as well as policy initiatives for reform, featuring Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and The Ladies of Hope Ministries founder Topeka K. Sam.

Rep. Bass discussed the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act, racial inequities in the criminal justice system, and the impact of protests on moving the legislative needle.

  • On looking at income inequality as a component of criminal justice reform: "The greatest disparity is really when it comes to the ability of people to defend themselves and to get proper legal representation. So if we look at our criminal justice system, income inequality is key in terms of how sentences and people are able to avoid incarceration."
  • On the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act: "The most important part of the bill is that the bill that holds officers accountable...As a country, we are tired and we are horrified in seeing videotape after videotape."

Topeka K. Sam unpacked sentencing disparity in America, as well as her advocacy for incarcerated women of color.

  • On rethinking the approach to criminal justice: "We can hold people accountable while healing people so that we don't have this cycle of abuse."
  • How retroactively applying laws could change the lives of many who have been incarcerated: "If we make those laws retroactive, the laws that we have already identified and acknowledge are harmful, then we'll be able to free people who have been incarcerated 20, 30 years."

Axios Chief People Officer Dominique Taylor hosted a View from the Top segment with YouTube Head of Human Rights Content Partnerships Malika Saada Saar.

  • "We have to understand the ways in which the use of phones and video changed our conversation around police brutality. We see this at a global level where digitally connected countries are able to be a place where phones are used and the abuse can be recorded."

Thank you YouTube for sponsoring this event.

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