The video above was recorded at the Twin Cities PBS event “Community Conversations: Rethinking Prison” on December 10, 2019.

Minnesota’s incarceration and probation practices are the focus of wide-ranging social and legislative debates: Do our current policies make sense? Why are certain racial and economic groups over-represented in today’s prison populations? How does our shared history influence our current system? And what new approaches are various stakeholders exploring and testing? These were the questions motivating the first Almanac Community Conversation event.

Hosted by Sheletta Brundidge, David Gillette and Kedar Hickman, the event featured three panel discussions focussing on history and data, personal stories, and policy possibilities. The event also incorporated questions from the audience and video excerpts of recent field interviews with formerly incarcerated Minnesotas.

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 This event was sponsored by Hamline University.

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While statistics, alone, can tell a sweeping story about Minnesota’s prison system, any tally of numbers misses the human impact the prison has on the lives of people who experience life behind bars. That’s why the Almanac team partnered with America From Scratch host Toussaint Morrison to explore the challenges people face before, during and after they answer for their crimes. Three formerly incarcerated men share their stories in Rethinking Prison: Incarceration Stories in Minnesota.

Native women make up less than 1 percent of Minnesota’s population, and yet, they experience murder rates at 10 times the national average. And many of these murders simply go unnoticed by the larger criminal justice system. But will Minnesota legislators finally take action?