Criminal Justice Reform is a hot topic for Van Jones | ParkRecord.com

Criminal Justice Reform is a hot topic for Van Jones

Bloodsworth and Farrell will join talk

Submitted by the Park City Institute

Park City Institute continues its rich tradition of engaging in dialogue on important issues, presenting a panel on Criminal Justice Reform, with Van Jones, at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 7, at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts, 1750 Kearns Blvd.

Jones, an attorney who has spent countless hours on CNN as a political commentator, will share his insights on the ways in which the criminal justice system is ineffective and the role it plays in the cycle of inequality in this country.

Appearing with Jones will be Mike Farrell, who may be best known for his work as an actor ("M*A*S*H," "Promised Land") but has devoted a significant portion of his life to working to end the death penalty—he recently returned to his post as president of Death Penalty Focus after a leave of absence to work on Prop 61 in California.

Kirk Bloodsworth will also share his insights based on his experience working from prison to prove his innocence. After successfully petitioning to submit DNA evidence not previously presented, he was released, exonerated, pardoned and compensated.

"Park City Institute is proud of our mission to educate the community on critical social issues, such as criminal justice reform. By exploring important topics in a public forum, we hope to elevate the discussion and expand the world-view of our audience," says PCI Executive Director Teri Orr. "The Utah Legislature is about to convene, and it's expected that two bills—one to expedite the death penalty process and one to repeal it—will be presented during this session. It's critical to our state and national dialogue that we examine capital punishment."

The evening will include Q&A, and with an audience expected to include members of Utah Bar Association, the NAACP, state and local government, area universities and law enforcement, there should be a wide-ranging discussion on the implications of the current criminal justice system and the impact of reform.

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  • Van Jones is a Yale-educated attorney and a former White House policy advisor. He is the author of two New York Times best-selling books, "The Green Collar Economy" (2008) and "Rebuild the Dream" (2012).Most recently, he has been a prominent political commentator on CNN, and hosted the special "The Messy Truth," examining citizens feelings about the 2016 Presidential Election.

    He is a co-founder of #Cut50, an organization aiming to cut the American prison population by 50 percent over the next decade.

  • Mike Farrell is the president of Death Penalty Focus. He has been working toward the abolishment of the death penalty for four decades.He was the author of Prop 62 a 2016 ballot measure that sought to end capital punishment in California, which lost by a margin of 53.1 percent to 46.8 percent.

    "It means we have to start over," he said. "We haven't reached enough people yet."

  • Kirk Bloodsworth is an honorably discharged former Marine.He is the first person in the United States exonerated from death row by DNA testing. He has been a tireless activist and advocate for other death row inmates since his release.

    He works with the Innocence Project to raise awareness and help empower the wrongly convicted to seek exoneration.

    Tickets to the Criminal Justice Reform Panel with Van Jones range from $29 to $79 and are available at ecclescenter.org or by calling the box office at 435-655-3114.

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