A Discussion of Racial Inequality in the Criminal Justice System
Join Defy Colorado for “Good Trouble” a series of panel discussions covering a multitude of issues that contribute to mass incarceration such as lack of access to mental health care and addiction treatment, the school to prison pipeline, and racial inequality.
First up we are making some noise with, “Good Trouble: A Discussion of Racial Inequality in the Criminal Justice System,” featuring the best and brightest minds in both the public and private sectors including Colorado Department of Corrections Executive Director Dean Williams, University of Denver’s Apryl Alexander, Civil Rights Attorney Tyrone Glover, and Currently Incarcerated Advocate, Rhidale Dotson, with opening remarks from Attorney General Phil Weiser.
The systemic racism in our criminal justice system is keeping it moving in a predictable direction. A direction that will keep the 2.2 million people in prison stuck in a cycle of disenfranchisement, continue to disproportionately impact people of color, and exponentially expand these inequities in the future.
What can we do? The first step is Good Trouble.
We are inspired by Rep. John Lewis, “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
In our first conversation, we will explore our speakers’ and panelists’ initiatives driving change and the impact of their leadership on all levels of the criminal justice system. They will share how they are working to actively identify and eliminate racism by changing systems, policies, and attitudes across our state.
How can you contribute to change? Make your own noise and get into some good trouble with Defy Colorado.
Join us on September 24th at 1:00 pm (MDT) for this thought-provoking discussion. RSVP by clicking image above!
Participants will include:
Dr. Apryl Alexander, University of Denver, Professor
Dr. Apryl Alexander is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology at the University of Denver. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the Florida Institute of Technology with concentrations in forensic psychology and child and family therapy. Dr. Alexander’s research and clinical work focus on violence and victimization, human sexuality, and trauma-informed and culturally informed practice. She is an award-winning researcher and her work has been published in leading journals. Recently, she received the 2019 APA Early Career Award for Outstanding Contributions to Benefit Children, Youth, and Families and the 2020 Michele Alexander Early Career Award for Scholarship and Service from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI). Additionally, Dr. Alexander is also an organizer with Black Lives Matter 5280 and serves on the board for the Colorado Juvenile Defender Center and the Colorado Criminal Defense Institute.
Rhidale Dotson, Currently Incarcerated Advocate, Musician
Rhidale Dotson is the incarcerated leader behind a collection of successful gang-reform programs and personal development initiatives within the Colorado state prison system.
By the age of 20, Rhidale was a parolee who had served 3 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections. By age 22, he had been convicted in two separate trials for aggravated robbery. Due to a tragic loss of life resulting from one of the robberies, Rhidale has been incarcerated since 1999 and is now serving life without parole for felony murder.
For much of the past decade, Rhidale has been reading, applying, and learning a variety of topics from books, mentors, and growth opportunities such as Defy Colorado. As a lifetime learner and student of change, the projects, programs, and beyond profit ventures he has since co-created or contributed to have allowed his theories of change to be tested in the real world.
Tyrone Glover, Civil Rights and Criminal Defense Attorney
Tyrone is a seasoned trial lawyer representing clients facing a wide variety of legal issues. His areas of practice include criminal defense, civil litigation, civil rights, and business transactions. He has served hundreds of clients and handled multiple high-stakes cases in both state and federal courts, including white-collar financial crimes, homicides, assaults, drug cases, and organized crime. He has achieved many favorable outcomes for his clients, including acquittals, case dismissals, suppressions by the court, and significantly mitigated sentences. Tyrone is a born fighter and strong advocate for those in need of someone willing to passionately defend and protect their rights and interests. The son of parents and grandparents who fought hard for equality and justice long before these principles were universally guaranteed, Tyrone continued in that tradition by becoming a public defender and serving Denver’s underprivileged with distinction – earning “Bootcamp Lawyer of the Year” recognition in 2012.
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser
Phil Weiser is the 39th Attorney General of Colorado. As the state’s chief legal officer, Attorney General Weiser is committed to protecting the people of Colorado, defending the rule of law, and building a Department of Law that serves all Coloradans effectively. Public Service is one of Weiser’s core values. Previously, Weiser served as a Professor of Law and Dean of the University of Colorado Law School, where he founded the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship. Weiser served in senior leadership positions in the Obama administration, and was appointed to serve as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice and as Senior Advisor for Technology and Innovation at the White House’s National Economic Council. Earlier in his career, Weiser co-chaired the Colorado Innovation Council and served in President Bill Clinton’s Department of Justice. After graduating law school, he worked in Denver for Judge David Ebel on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and held two clerkships at the United States Supreme Court, for Justices Byron White and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Attorney General Weiser lives in Denver with his wife Dr. Heidi Wald, and their two children.
Dean Williams, Colorado Dept. of Corrections, Executive Director
Dean Williams was appointed Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections by Governor Jared Polis on January 8, 2019. Prior to joining the Colorado DOC, he was the Commissioner of Corrections in Alaska where he oversaw the operation of community jails, halfway houses, pretrial and sentenced facilities, probation, parole and pre-trial efforts in the state.
Dean served in several capacities during his time in Alaska, to include: Special Assistant to Governor Walker, Special Assistant in the Alaska Department of Public Safety, Researcher for the Alaska Legislature, Executive Director of the Downtown Soup Kitchen, Juvenile Justice Superintendent, Associate Attorney and Paralegal Assistant for the State of Alaska Department of Law, Youth Counselor for the Dept. of Juvenile Justice and Reserve Police Officer for the Anchorage Police Department.
Dean holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications from Ohio University.
April Jones, Attorney At Law, Panel Moderator
Ms. April Jones obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1987 and her Juris Doctorate from University of California, Hastings College of Law in 2000. She is a member of the California State and Colorado State Bars. Her dedication to the law and continuous pursuit of quality and professionalism are the foundations that Jones Law Firm, PC thrives upon.
Ms. Jones is an active member of the legal and non-legal community. She was appointed by Colorado Governor Bill Ritter to a six year term as Nomination Commissioner for the nomination of Justices to the Colorado Supreme Court and the Colorado Court of Appeals.
She served previously as the Diversity Chairperson for the Arapahoe County Bar for two terms and is a past executive board member of the Colorado Women’s Bar. Additionally, April Jones is a past member of the Inns of Court – a society dedicated to protecting and promoting the integrity and quality of the legal profession.