Social Justice Monday: Changing the Criminal Justice System to Keep Teenagers Out of Jail and In School in King County

Social Justice Monday: Changing the Criminal Justice System to Keep Teenagers Out of Jail and In School in King County

October 17, 2016

Unleash the Brilliance (UTB) is a youth organization that works directly with teen-aged students charged with truancy to redirect them from the court system back into school. UTB works through a peer-to-peer mentoring and supports the Truancy Diversion Program of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (PAO).

This Social Justice Monday, featured the co-founders of UTB, Terrell Dorsey and Jorell Dorsey. It also featured Linda Thomas, the Truancy Coordinator for the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (PAO) and several youth leaders for UTB. UTB won the 2016 Outstanding Partner Award from the PAO.

This novel criminal justice program, fueled by the passion and dedication of relentless volunteers, is changing the lives of youth throughout King County.

Panelists included:

Terrell Dorsey, Founder/President of UTB. Terrell is also the Co-Director of the 180 Program that serves youth who are cited for relatively low-level crimes committed in King County. In both roles, Terrell has a duty and a passion to change the life trajectory of troubled teens towards the path of progress.

Jorrell Dorsey, Co-Founder of UTB. He recruits and trains new UTB Youth Leaders every year from local schools. He is also one of the main speakers for the organization. He enjoys sharing his personal story of adversity that was layered with daunting challenges to finding his strength back to success.

Linda Thomas, Truancy Coordinator for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Linda has worked for the KCPAO for 12 years and is devoted to helping youth at-promise graduate from high school.

Cierra Conley, UTB Youth Coordinator. She started working for UTB a month after she arrived in Seattle from West Virginia in 2015, and brings a heart full of compassion and understanding to the youth she meets. Her fundamental goal is to connect with the youth she engages during the workshop and earn their trust and friendship.

Marika Koroma, UTB Youth Leader. She is a high school senior in Federal Way and loves doing things to help others and making people happy.

Andres Arano, UTB Youth Leader. He enjoys supporting UTB and the King County Truancy Workshops. He believes it is one of the best ways to spend his energy.

Charlie Shih, UTB Youth Leader. She is a senior at the University of Washington focusing on sexual violence as a politicized issue. She is passionate about creating social change through education and the arts.

Interested in learning more? Here are some related books:

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Truancy Prevention and Intervention: A Practical Guide

Lynn Bye

SU Lemieux Library 4th Floor-Books (LB3081.T785 2010)

Research has shown that truancy is frequently associated with juvenile crime and dropping out of school altogether. With the high dropout rate in the U.S. and the No Child Left Behind Act holding schools accountable for their dropout rates, it is essential for school social workers to contribute to their schools’ improvement plan in meeting annual yearly progress benchmarks. This book, by well respected researchers and practitioners who have extensive experience with truancy, covers best practices in truancy at the community, school, and student/family levels of interventions. It provides an essential everyday reference guide to research-based programs and truancy program implementation.

Beginning with an introduction to the essentials of truancy, its causes and consequences, and state and federal legislation, the authors then give readers a snapshot of what research has shown to work so far and what adaptations might look like in various school settings. Richly detailed case examples illustrate multiple levels of intervention, from the school-wide prevention and general policy levels to remedial interventions, including culturally competent approaches. Eminently practical and easily accessible, with sample forms, methods of measuring outcomes, ideas for funding, take-away points, and digestible research summaries, this will be a trusted toolkit for school professionals seeking to reduce their schools’ dropout rates and improve students’ engagement with school.

School-based practitioners and student trainees alike will find a wealth of reliable information about what is seemingly an intractable problem. They can immediately begin implementing the proven and promising practices presented in this practical guide. – From the Publisher

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Truancy Revisited: Students as School Consumers

Rita E. Guare and Bruce S. Cooper

SU Lemieux Library 4th Floor-Books (LB3081.G89 2003)

How can we make schools more attractive to students? How do we engage them in their own education? This book treats the fundamental issue of whether students are ‘conscripts’ required by law to attend school, or whether (due to non-attendance) we should begin to see them as ‘consumers’ of their education. Key questions are asked to determine when students choose to skip school, how often, and why. Topics include: gender, ethnic/racial differences, academic standing, grade level, and school rules. This is an excellent book for administrators and supervisors, teachers, parents, school board members, and policy-makers who set programs for schools that affect attendance. – From the Publisher

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The Family-School Connection: Theory, Research, and Practice

Edited By:
Bruce A. Ryan
Gerald R. Adams
Thomas P. Gullotta
Roger P. Weissberg
Robert L. Hampton

SU Lemieux Library 4th Floor-Books (LC225.3.F38 1995)

Currently, only about 50% of American youths live in traditional two-parent, first-marriage families. This fact, combined with often bleak economic and social realities, creates the backdrop of interactions between families, children, and schools are examined in this probing volume. Answering a need for evaluative research in this area of increasing public interest, the contributors build a model for evaluation, focusing on the dynamics of family-school connections. How is school achievement influenced by parent-child interactions and the family environment? How do school, family, community, and peer-group connections affect early adolescents? What is the family’s role in the success of learning-disabled youth or in school truancy? What effect does parental discord and divorce have on a child’s learning? These questions, as well as proposals for intervention and prevention, create the crux of this book designed to inform and motivate readers to respond to one of our country’s most fundamental social concerns. Vital reading for everyone who wants to better understand child-school-community interaction, this book especially warrants reading by students, researchers, and other professionals in developmental psychology, family studies, psychology, and social work. – From the Publisher

If you were unable to attend this presentation, it is available via video recording here: Social Justice Mondays Recordings.


Social Justice Monday: Nestora Salgado – Indigenous Leader, Human Rights Activist, and U.S. Citizen – Freed After Illegal Imprisonment in Mexico

Social Justice Monday: Nestora Salgado – Indigenous Leader, Human Rights Activist, and U.S. Citizen – Freed After Illegal Imprisonment in Mexico

October 3, 2016

Nestora Salgado, a citizen of the United States and Mexico, was arrested for community service in her home village of Olinalá in the state of Guerrero. Mexican law guarantees the rights of indigenous communities to form their own security institutions.  Abandoned by the Mexican government, indigenous communities have increasingly formed such groups to protect themselves from the brutal violence of drug traffickers.  Ms. Salgado was the first woman leader of a community police force, and was immediately persecuted by corrupt Mexican authorities. After enduring two and a half years of illegal detention, the School of Law’s International Human Rights Clinic helped obtain her freedom.

Ms. Salgado moved to the U.S. in 1991 at the age of 20. She has divided her time between Olinalá and the Seattle area, where she lives with her husband, her daughters, and her grandchildren.

Ms. Salgado discussed her community, her activism, and her return from detention. Ms. Salgado was introduced by Professor Thomas Antkowiak, Director of both the International Human Rights Clinic and the Latin America Program.

Interested in learning more? Here are some related books available from the Law Library:

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Human Rights in Latin America: A Politics of Terror and Hope

Sonia Cardenas

Law Library – 3rd Floor (JC599.L3C368 2010)

For the last half century, Latin America has been plagued by civil wars, dictatorships, torture, legacies of colonialism and racism, and other evils. The region has also experienced dramatic—if uneven—human rights improvements. The accounts of how Latin America’s people have dealt with the persistent threats to their fundamental rights offer lessons for people around the world.

Human Rights in Latin America: A Politics of Terror and Hope is the first textbook to provide a comprehensive introduction to the human rights issues facing an area that constitutes more than half of the Western Hemisphere. Leading human rights researcher and educator Sonia Cardenas brings together regional examples of both terror and hope, emphasizing the dualities inherent in human rights struggles. Organized by three pivotal topics—human rights violations, reform, and accountability—this book offers an authoritative synthesis of research on human rights on the continent. From historical accounts of abuse to successful transnational campaigns and legal battles, Human Rights in Latin America explores the tensions underlying a vast range of human rights initiatives. In addition to surveying the roles of the United States, relatives of the disappeared, and truth commissions, Cardenas covers newer ground in addressing the colonial and ideological underpinnings of human rights abuses, emerging campaigns for disability and sexuality rights, and regional dynamics relating to the International Criminal Court.

Engagingly written and fully illustrated, Human Rights in Latin America creates an important niche among human rights and Latin American textbooks. Ample supplementary resources—including discussion questions, interdisciplinary reading lists, filmographies, online resources, internship opportunities, and instructor assignments—make this an especially valuable text for use in human rights courses. – From the Publisher

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Victims Unsilenced: The Inter-American Human Rights System and Transitional Justice in Latin America

Edited by:
Katya Salazar
Thomas Antkowiak

Law Library (KDZ578.I5V53 2007)

Despite having developed some of the most progressive jurisprudence on matters of accountability, remedies and due process, the Inter-American human rights system has had a mixed record with regard to transitional justice processes in Latin America.

What accounts for the regional system’s varying degrees of influence on the rule of law in individual states? What lessons can we apply to countries just beginning to emerge from violent conflict and massive human rights violations such as Colombia?

A new book published by the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF) with support from United States Institute of Peace examines the role of the Inter-American human rights system in advancing transitional justice in Latin America. This comprehensive, policy-oriented study covers four cases: Argentina, Peru, Guatemala and El Salvador. Its authors include some of the region’s foremost experts on transitional justice and the Inter-American system. – From United States Institute of Peace


Social Justice Monday: Racial (In)Equity and Policing

Social Justice Monday: Racial (In)Equity and Policing
September 26, 2016

The long-smoldering issue of racial bias in policing and the criminal justice system is finally front and center in America’s consciousness. LLSA and ATJI presented a panel of nationally-recognized experts on how conscious and unconscious bias can manifest in police and prosecutorial interactions and how such bias may influence outcomes throughout various stages of the criminal justice system and particularly impact Latinx people and other communities of color.

In addition to a scholarly perspective, panelists also offered insight as to how these issues are arising and being addressed in real-time through United States v. City of Seattle, in which the U.S. Department of Justice alleged excessive use of force violations by the Seattle Police Department.

Panelists included:

J. Michael (“Mike”) Diaz is the Civil Rights Program Coordinator for the Civil Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, as well as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. He has investigated and/or prosecuted a wide variety of civil rights matters, from “classic” civil rights cases such as housing, employment and educational matters to more “modern” matters, including rights violated by police misconduct. Due to his expertise, Mike is a faculty member of the DOJ’s National Advocacy (Training) Center teaching on civil rights enforcement. Mike has been the lead line attorney on the investigation, lawsuit, and consent decree in United States v. City of Seattle (SPD) since its inception in 2010. In addition to other volunteer work, Mike, in his individual capacity, currently serves on the Washington State Minority and Justice Commission. Mike received his JD from Cornell Law School in 2002.

Taki V. Flevaris is a Faculty Affiliate at the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality at Seattle University School of Law and an attorney at Pacifica Law Group, LLP, with a practice focused on constitutional and governmental litigation. He has a background in psychological study and research, and he writes and presents regularly on equal access and equal treatment in the justice system, with special emphasis on race and the use of psychological science to inform legal rules and procedures. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Northwestern University.

Dr. William Parkin, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Seattle University, focuses his research on ideological violence, bias crimes, and the media’s relationship with the criminal justice system. Dr. Parkin has worked on research projects related to domestic terrorism, the nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative, and community public safety in Seattle. He received his Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from the City University of New York, Graduate Center in 2012.

Interested in learning more? Here are some related books available from the Law Library:

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Punishing Race: A Continuing American Dilemma

Michael Tonry

Full Text Online

How can it be, in a nation that elected Barack Obama, that one third of African American males born in 2001 will spend time in a state or federal prison, and that black men are seven times likelier than white men to be in prison? Blacks are much more likely than whites to be stopped by the police, arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and imprisoned, and are much less likely to have confidence in justice system officials, especially the police.

In Punishing Race, Michael Tonry demonstrates in lucid, accessible language that these patterns result not from racial differences in crime or drug use but primarily from drug and crime control policies that disproportionately affect black Americans. These policies in turn stem from a lack of white empathy for black people, and from racial stereotypes and resentments provoked partly by the Republican Southern Strategy of using coded “law and order” appeals to race to gain support from white voters. White Americans, Tonry observes, have a remarkable capacity to endure the suffering of disadvantaged black and, increasingly, Hispanic men. Crime policies are among a set of social policies enacted since the 1960s that have maintained white dominance over black people despite the end of legal discrimination. To redress these injustices, Tonry offers a number of proposals: stop racial profiling by the police, shift the emphasis of drug law enforcement to treatment and prevention, eliminate mandatory sentencing laws, and change sentencing guidelines to allow judges discretion to take account of offenders’ life circumstances. Those proposals are all attainable and would all reduce unjustifiable racial disparities and the collateral human and social harms they cause.

A damning indictment of decades of misguided criminal justice policy, Punishing Race takes a crucial look at persisting racial injustice in America. – From the Publisher

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Critical Race Realism: Intersections of Psychology, Race, and Law

Edited by:
Gregory S. Parks
Shayne Jones
W. Jonathan Cardi

LAW-4th Floor (KF4755.C749 2008)

A new way of looking at our legal system—focused on the nexus of social science, race, and the law—that takes the field of critical legal studies into the twenty-first century.

Building on the field of critical race theory, which took a theoretical approach to questions of race and the law, Critical Race Realism offers a practical look at the way racial bias plays out at every level of the legal system, from witness identification and jury selection to prosecutorial behavior, defense decisions, and the way expert witnesses are regarded.

Using cutting-edge research from across the social sciences and, in particular, new understandings from psychology of the way prejudice functions in the brain, this new book—the first overview of the topic—includes many of the seminal writings to date along with newly commissioned pieces filling in gaps in the literature. The authors are part of a rising generation of legal scholars and social scientists intent on using the latest insights from their respective fields to understand the racial biases built into our legal system and to offer concrete measures to overcome them. – From the Publisher

If you were unable to attend this presentation, it is available via video recording here: Social Justice Mondays Recordings.



Social Justice Monday: Mobilizing for Refugee Rights

Social Justice Monday: Mobilizing for Refugee Rights
September 19, 2016

We are in the midst of the largest refugee crisis since the aftermath of World War II. Over 1 million people made the decision to cross the Mediterranean in 2015, fleeing inhumane and deeply troublesome conflicts in their home countries. They are running into barriers both systemic and drawn from the darkest fears of human nature as they struggle to find peace and security.

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) was sparked as a way of helping those swept up in the crisis. IRAP staff and volunteers have spent the past 8 years resettling as many individuals as possible, working with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to ensure that refugees receive legal assistance during some of the most trying times in their lives. More recently, as countries face an overwhelming influx of refugees resulting from the Syrian Civil War, IRAP is also working to confront xenophobic rhetoric and a toxic social reality by engaging in policy work and continuing to offer legal aid to the most vulnerable populations.

Students from Seattle University’s IRAP Chapter, including Emily Wright (2L), Whitney Wootton (2L), and Stephen Anderson (2L), discussed ways to get involved through case work and policy research. For more information about getting involved, email Whitney Wootton, Director of Seattle University’s IRAP Chapter.

If you were unable to attend this presentation, it is available via video recording here: Social Justice Mondays Recordings.

Interested in learning more? Here are some related books available from the Law Library:

Cover ImageCity of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp

Ben Rawlence

LAW-McNaughton Collection-2nd Floor (HV640.4.K4R39 2016)

To the charity workers, Dadaab refugee camp is a humanitarian crisis; to the Kenyan government, it is a ‘nursery for terrorists’; to the western media, it is a dangerous no-go area; but to its half a million residents, it is their last resort.

Situated hundreds of miles from any other settlement, deep within the inhospitable desert of northern Kenya where only thorn bushes grow, Dadaab is a city like no other. Its buildings are made from mud, sticks or plastic, its entire economy is grey, and its citizens survive on rations and luck. Over the course of four years, Ben Rawlence became a first-hand witness to a strange and desperate limbo-land, getting to know many of those who have come there seeking sanctuary. Among them are Guled, a former child soldier who lives for football; Nisho, who scrapes an existence by pushing a wheelbarrow and dreaming of riches; Tawane, the indomitable youth leader; and schoolgirl Kheyro, whose future hangs upon her education.

In City of Thorns, Rawlence interweaves the stories of nine individuals to show what life is like in the camp and to sketch the wider political forces that keep the refugees trapped there. Rawlence combines intimate storytelling with broad socio-political investigative journalism, doing for Dadaab what Katherinee Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers did for the Mumbai slums. Lucid, vivid and illuminating, City of Thorns is an urgent human story with deep international repercussions, brought to life through the people who call Dadaab home. – From the Publisher

Cover ImageGender in Refugee Law: From the Margins to the Centre

Edited by Efrat Arbel, Catherine Dauvergne, and Jenni Millbank

LAW-3rd Floor (K3230.R45G46 2014)

Questions of gender have strongly influenced the development of international refugee law over the last few decades. This volume assesses the progress toward appropriate recognition of gender-related persecution in refugee law. It documents the advances made following intense advocacy around the world in the 1990s, and evaluates the extent to which gender has been successfully integrated into refugee law.

Evaluating the research and advocacy agendas for gender in refugee law ten years beyond the 2002 UNHCR Gender Guidelines, the book investigates the current status of gender in refugee law. It examines gender-related persecution claims of both women and men, including those based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and explores how the development of an anti-refugee agenda in many Western states exponentially increases vulnerability for refugees making gendered claims. The volume includes contributions from scholars and members of the advocacy community that allow the book to examine conceptual and doctrinal themes arising at the intersection of gender and refugee law, and specific case studies across major Western refugee-receiving nations. The book will be of great interest and value to researchers and students of asylum and immigration law, international politics, and gender studies. – From the Publisher

Cover ImageAdjudicating Refugee and Asylum Status: The Role of Witness, Expertise, and Testimony

Edited by Benjamin N. Lawrance and Galya Ruffer

LAW-3rd Floor (K3268.3.A93 2015 )

In this book, an array of legal, biomedical, psychosocial, and social science scholars and practitioners offer the first comparative account of the increasing dependence on expertise in the asylum and refugee status determination process. This volume presents a comprehensive study of the relevance of experts, as mediators of culture, who are called upon to corroborate, substantiate credibility, and serve as translators in the face of confusing legal standards that require proof of new forms and reasons for persecution around the globe. The authors draw upon their interactions with expertise and the immigration process to provide insights into the evidentiary burdens on asylum seekers and the expanding role of expertise in the forms of country-conditions reports, biomedical and psychiatric evaluations, and the emerging field of forensic linguistic analysis in response to emerging forms of persecution, such as gender-based or sexuality-based persecution. This book is essential reading for both scholars interested in the production of knowledge and clinicians considering the role of experts as mediators of asylum claims. – From the Publisher


Social Justice Monday: Washington in the Era of Mass Incarceration

Social Justice Monday: Washington in the Era of Mass Incarceration
September 12, 2016

Did you know that more than 18,000 Washington residents were incarcerated in prisons in 2015? Over thirty years ago, Washington enacted a comprehensive Sentencing Reform Act that dramatically impacted sentencing in our state. Many changes in sentencing law and policy have come and gone since then, often in response to shifting public policy toward crime and punishment.

Professor Emeritus and sentencing and ethics expert David Boerner presented an analysis of Washington’s prison population and sentencing over the past third of a century. He presented information about who is imprisoned in Washington, why, and how we have gotten to the point of mass incarceration today.

If you were unable to attend this presentation, it is available via video recording here: Social Justice Mondays Recordings.

Interested in learning more? Here are some related books available from the Law Library:

Cover ImageThe New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Michelle Alexander

LAW – 3rd Floor (HV9950.A437 2010)

Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow is such a book. Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier as “brave and bold,” this book directly challenges the notion that the presidency of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.” By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control—relegating millions to a permanent second-class status—even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. In the words of Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, this book is a “call to action.”

Called “stunning” by Pulitzer Prize–winning historian David Levering Lewis, “invaluable” by the Daily Kos, “explosive” by Kirkus, and “profoundly necessary” by the Miami Herald, this updated and revised paperback edition of The New Jim Crow, now with a foreword by Cornel West, is a must-read for all people of conscience. – From the Publisher


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The Power of the Prosecutor: Gatekeepers of the Criminal Justice System

Joan E. Jacoby and Edward C. Ratledge

LAW – New Books (KF9640.J288 2016)

Prosecutors have a powerful and generally little-understood role in the criminal justice system. Their important powers include accepting or rejecting cases, making decisions about dismissing charges, or moving cases to disposition and recommending a sentence—all of which can critically affect not only individuals but society through their ability to shape our criminal justice system. The Power of the Prosecutor: Gatekeepers of the Criminal Justice System explores the real-world actions and outcomes of local prosecutors through five well-known cases, documenting the variety of pressures prosecutors face both within and outside their offices as they attempt to make the best decisions about crimes and defendants.

Written by individuals who have actively engaged prosecutors in practically every U.S. state over 30 years’ time, the book examines actual case profiles that enable readers to witness how prosecutors reach their behind-the-scenes decisions and grasp how the criminal justice system operates. The authors explain the variations in prosecution, including the effects of policies and priorities, action choices available, and the types of both internal and external relationships with other participants in the system: the police, the courts, the defense counsel, and the community they represent. Readers will come away with in-depth knowledge and understanding of the complexities and pressures faced by prosecutors in upholding justice under a wide variety of conditions. – From the Publisher


Social Justice Mondays: In Pursuit of Social Justice

Social Justice Mondays: In Pursuit of Social Justice
August 29, 2016

Social Justice Mondays is a weekly series that encourages discussion about the many issues surrounding the idea of “social justice” in order to foster learning and strengthen the social justice community of students, faculty and staff at the law school. In the first session of the year we explored the very definition of social justice through the work and voices of students, alumni, faculty, and staff. What does the ‘act’ of social justice require? What is the role of law students and attorneys in movements that work to advance social justice?

This week, Social Justice Monday featured Professor Mark Chinen, Professor Lisa Brodoff, Staff Attorney and SU Leadership Justice Fellow Marisa Ordonia, and joint JD/MBA candidate Ammon Ford. They engaged in a discussion about how a commitment to social justice informs their work and about ways law students can get involved in social justice issues that they are passionate about. The panel was moderated by Jennifer Werdell, Associate Director of the Access to Justice Institute.

Interested in Getting Involved? Check Out the Following Resources:
On-Campus Resources

Access to Justice Institute (ATJI): Contact Jennifer Werdell

Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic

Social Justice Leadership Committee: Contact Professor Mark Chinen or Professor Lisa Brodoff

Social Justice Coalition or Student Organizing Opportunities: Contact Janet Rodrigues

Cannabis Law Society (CLAW): Contact Ammon Ford

Pro Bono & External Opportunities

ATJI Pro Bono Portal

For related Externship options, visit the Externship Database and search by interest area.

King County Juvenile Record Sealing Clinics: Contact Jennifer Werdell

TeamChild: Contact Marisa Ordonia

TeamChild Hackathon: You can register to attend or volunteer

Interested in learning more? Here are some related journal articles and books available from the Law Library:

Seattle JournalCover Image for Social Justice

Full Text Available Online

From the Publisher:
“The Seattle Journal for Social Justice seeks to promote critical interdisciplinary discussions on urgent problems of social justice, including exploring the often-conflicting meanings of justice that arise in a diverse society. The SJSJ is managed and edited by Seattle University School of Law students in their second and third years of study.

Publishing its inaugural issue in 2002, the SJSJ has compiled content representing a diverse range of social justice issues and perspectives: from questions on the impact of HIV/AIDS in the global community to discussions on the environmental degradation of Native American lands; from artwork drawn by Guantanamo detainees to reflections on spiritual exploration in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Among our most notable authors are Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Alice Walker, Howard Zinn, and Noam Chomsky.”

Cover ImageLifting Burdens: Proof, Social Justice, and Public Assistance Administrative Hearings
By Lisa Brodoff

Full Text Available Online Through Seattle University School of Law’s Institutional Repository

In “Lifting Burdens: Proof, Social Justice, and Public Assistance Administrative Hearings,” Lisa Brodoff describes the administrative hearing system for public assistance recipients and applicants, and asserts that it is the primary social justice system for the poor. She discusses why public assistance appellants are always placed at a significant disadvantage in this system. The article proposes that the best way to even out the inequities in adjudications is to always place the burdens of production and persuasion by clear and convincing evidence on the government in these hearings. She argues that policy, efficiency, and fairness require a consistent and heavy burden on the state when it attempts to take away or deny brutal needs benefits. This article examines other administrative substantive areas where the burden is placed on the government in hearings, and shows why the policies behind the changed burden in those areas apply with equal force to public benefits hearings. She demonstrates why a new and heavy burden on the agency will not only result in more equitable adjudications but also lead to better managed public assistance programs. Finally, she suggests ways in which to implement this change.

If you were not able to attend this presentation, it is available via video recording here: Social Justice Mondays Recordings.


Social Justice Monday: Who is a Terrorist?

Social Justice Monday: Who is a Terrorist?: The Legal, Legislative, and Social Impacts of a Powerful Label

Social Justice Monday–March 28, 2016

Submitted by Jeanna McLellan, Electronic Services Assistant 

Terrorism is a frightening concept, and it can seemingly strike closer-to-home each passing day. Terrorists seem like a monolithic and dangerous “other.” However, the reality is tremendously complex. The root causes of terrorism are elusive.  Identifying them is difficult and contentious. Despite this, the terms “terrorist” and “terrorism” are used with great frequency to powerful legal and social effect. This begs the question: can we define terrorism? How does current law actually define terrorism? Is the definition appropriate? What are the broader impacts of this definition on the public, the media, and the legislative process?  The answers to these questions are difficult and fraught with social and political consequence, especially for Muslims and Arab-Americans.

This Social Justice Monday Professor John McKay, Sharia Law Scholar Salah Dandan, and former FBI Special Agent Charlie Mandigo engaged in a discussion about the legal, legislative and social impacts of the “terrorist” label.  The panel was moderated by 1L Scholar for Justice Ben Halpern-Meekin.

Interested in learning more? Here are some related ebooks available from the Law Library:

Researching terrorism, peace and conflict studies : interaction, synthesis and opposition

Full Text Online

From the Publisher:

“This book examines potential synergies between the fields of Terrorism Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies.

The volume presents theoretically- and empirically-informed contributions, which shed light on whether the two fields can inform each other on issues of mutual interest and importance. The book examines key themes including the conceptualisation(s) of peace and violence; the exceptionalisation of terrorist violence; the relationship between scholarship and political power; the dysfunctionality of the liberal peace and the opportunities offered by post-liberal peacebuilding frameworks; and the implications and challenges of cyber-terrorism and cyber-conflict. Furthermore, the book intends to be a launching pad for future debate on whether the recent ‘critical’ turn in terrorism studies can offer a pathway for peace studies to engage with the so far largely ignored question of power.

Consisting of not only key scholars but also practitioners and policy makers, the contributors present a number of case studies, including Colombia, Northern Ireland, the Basque Country, and Iraq, where they explore the relationships between terrorism and peace and conflict approaches. They critically analyse the statist approach inherent in both terrorism approaches and liberal peacebuilding frameworks; the role of the grassroots levels of society; the inefficiency of simplistic frameworks of understanding and implementation; and the chains of governance from international (and transnational) actors to national actors and finally from national to local actors.”


Terror and Performance

Full Text Online

“In this exceptional investigation Rustom Bharucha considers the realities of Islamophobia, the legacies of Truth and Reconciliation, the deadly certitudes of State-controlled security systems and the legitimacy of counter-terror terrorism, drawing on a vast spectrum of human cruelties across the global South. The outcome is a brilliantly argued case for seeing terror as a volatile and mutant phenomenon that is deeply lived, experienced, and performed within the cultures of everyday life.”


Cultural Messaging in the U.S. War on Terrorism A Performative Approach to Security

Full Text Online

From the Publisher:

“Sylvia focuses on the impact of the “If You See Something, Say Something” advertising campaign in the New York City subway system. She demonstrates how ideas regarding security and terrorism are socially constructed; it shows how the narrative of the war on terrorism as a political project was linked to the narrative of a local urban security campaign. Her thesis suggests that this advertising campaign perpetuates the politics of fear connected to the greater war on terrorism and that this advertising campaign is a mechanism of social control. Sylvia’s research draws upon and supports Michel Foucault’s understanding of governmentality.”


Social Justice Monday: Making a 180 in Juvenile Justice

Social Justice Monday–March 21, 2016

Submitted by Jeanna McLellan, Electronic Services Assistant

Every year, thousands of juveniles in King County enter the criminal justice system. They are cut off from their families, their education is disrupted, and they are often exposed to further trauma and violence— which ultimately harms their development and has lifelong negative consequences.  Community-based alternatives to incarceration are much less expensive and more effective in reducing crime and recidivism.

Through a partnership between the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and other community organizations, the 180 Program gives first-time juvenile offenders the opportunity to avoid incarceration and make a 180 turn from the path they were headed. Through a combination of large-group presentations, engaging ice-breaker activities, and small-group personal discussions, workshop participants learn to make better choices.  The program uses an innovative and evidence-based approach where speakers from the youth’s own communities, many who have been through similar situations, inspire them to take a different path.  Seattle University School of Law has been a partner by providing free space for these monthly workshops.  To date, over 1500 youth have been diverted from incarceration by going through the 180 program.

This social Justice Monday King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office Chief of Staff, Leesa Manion ‘96, 180 Program Directors Terrell Dorsey and Dominique Davis, and 180 Program Graduate Cierra Conley, discussed the program and the importance of diverting juveniles out of the criminal justice system. 

Interested in learning more? Here are some related books and a movie available in the Law Library:

Justice for Kids: Keeping Kids out of the JuvenileJustice System

By Nancy E. Dowd

LAW-4th Floor (KF9779.J87 2011)

From the Publisher:

Children and youth become involved with the juvenile justice system at a significant rate. While some children move just as quickly out of the system and go on to live productive lives as adults, other children become enmeshed in the system, developing deeper problems and or transferring into the adult criminal justice system. Justice for Kids is a volume of work by leading academics and activists that focuses on ways to intervene at the earliest possible point to rehabilitate and redirect—to keep kids out of the system—rather than to punish and drive kids deeper.

Justice for Kids presents a compelling argument for rethinking and restructuring the juvenile justice system as we know it. This unique collection explores the system’s fault lines with respect to all children, and focuses in particular on issues of race, gender, and sexual orientation that skew the system. Most importantly, it provides specific program initiatives that offer alternatives to our thinking about prevention and deterrence, with an ultimate focus on keeping kids out of the system altogether. 

Burning Down the House: The end of Juvenile Prison

By Nell Bernstein

LAW-3rd Floor (HV9104.B4243 2014)

From the Publisher:

In what the San Francisco Chronicle called “an epic work of investigative journalism that lays bare our nation’s brutal and counterproductive juvenile prisons and is a clarion call to bring our children home,” Nell Bernstein eloquently argues that there is no good way to lock up a child. Making the radical argument that state-run detention centers should be abolished completely, her “passionate and convincing” (Kirkus Reviews) book points out that our system of juvenile justice flies in the face of everything we know about what motivates young people to change.

Called “a devastating read” by Truthout, Burning Down the House received a starred Publishers Weekly review and was an In These Times recommended summer read. Bernstein’s heartrending portraits of young people abused by the system intended to protect and “rehabilitate” them are interwoven with reporting on innovative programs that provide effective alternatives to putting children behind bars.

The result is a work that the Philadelphia Inquirer called “a searing indictment and a deft strike at the heart of America’s centuries-old practice of locking children away in institutions”—a landmark book that has already launched a new national conversation.

Juvenile Offenders: A Study of Disproportionality and Recidivism

By Nella Lee Washington

LAW-3rd Floor (HV9105.W2L44 2001)

A study published by the State of Washington Sentencing Guidelines Commission. The study is somewhat dated, but the information is still relevant.


Social Justice Monday: “Domestic Dependent Nations” in the Twenty-First Century

Social Justice Monday–February 29, 2016

Submitted by Jeanna McLellan, Electronic Services Assistant

From first contact, Indian tribes have been in danger of losing their separate political and cultural identity, thereby being assimilated into dominant American society. The only thing preventing this has been the tribes’ unextinguished claim to sovereignty – the inherent authority of tribes to govern themselves. Federal Indian law and policy has been troubled from its beginning by recurring paradoxes, inconsistencies, and conflicting national and tribal objectives. Yet tribal cultures remain strong in the face of powerfully adverse political and jurisprudential forces, continuing to gain influence in political spheres.  The current diminished status of tribal sovereignty is taking its toll on the ability of tribes to survive as unique cultural and political communities and is diminishing their contribution to the vitality of our country as a whole.

There are 567 federally recognized Indian tribes in the U.S., most of which have their own sovereign lands, governments, and court systems, and who interact every day with the state and federal government. Yet most legal thought overlooks our sovereign Indian nations and legal heritage. In Indian law we are confronted with the limits of the law, and our study should press us towards figuring out how to take the next step toward problem solving of a different order.  But we cannot do that effectively until we know how Indian law works. One needs to understand the ailment to start to treat it effectively.

Professor Michael Miranda, Adjunct Professor and Faculty Fellow at the Center for Indian Law & Policy and Professor Eric Eberhard, Distinguished Indian Law Practitioner in Residence and Senior Fellow at the Center for Indian Law led the discussion.

Professor Miranda discussed Indian Law’s relevance to social justice through four elements. First, what is studied in Indian Law is at the core of social justice–the interaction of cultures, and acceptance and accommodation. Second, the study of Indian Law allows one to develop the Jesuit values of social justice. Third, the study of Indian Law  provides a window into what real diversity is, and how to build bridges between communities. Fourth, it teaches one the limit of the law to provide social justice, and for true reconciliation we need more than the law.

Professor Eberhart discussed tribal sovereignty in the context of the ability of tribes to effectively govern their homelands, protect their land and cultures and provide for the social and economic well-being of their citizens and all those in an Indian community. As limitations are imposed on tribal sovereignty, as is believed will occur in the current Dollar General case and has occurred in other cases before the Supreme Court, Indian law helps us understand exclusion and the limits of the law.  This understanding then leads us to grasp the need to move beyond the law’s contours to seek cultural and political reconciliation.

Interested in learning more? Here are some related books available in the Law Library:

American Indians and the Law
By N. Bruce Duthu
LAW-4th Floor (KF8210.R32D88 2008)

From the Publisher:

Few Americans know that Indian tribes have a legal status unique among America’s distinct racial and ethnic groups: they are sovereign governments who engage in relations with Congress. This peculiar arrangement has led to frequent legal and political disputes-indeed, the history of American Indians and American law has been one of clashing values and sometimes uneasy compromise. In this clear-sighted account, American Indian scholar N. Bruce Duthu explains the landmark cases in Indian law of the past two centuries. Exploring subjects as diverse as jurisdictional authority, control of environmental resources, and the regulations that allow the operation of gambling casinos, American Indians and the Law gives us an accessible entry point into a vital facet of Indian history.


American Indian Politics and the American Political System

By David E. Wilkins Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark

From the Publisher:

Now in its third edition, American Indian Politics is the most comprehensive study written from a political science perspective that analyzes the structures and functions of indigenous governments (including Alaskan Native communities and Hawaiian Natives) and the distinctive legal and political rights these nations exercise internally, while also examining the fascinating intergovernmental relationship that exists between native nations, the states, and the federal government.


Encyclopedia of American Indian history

By Bruce E. Johansen, (Bruce Elliott), 1950-; Barry Pritzker

From the Publisher:

The story of America’s original inhabitants, their descendents, and immigrants from the Old World is one of cooperation and conflict, promise and compromise, tragedy and endurance. It is an essential, troubling undercurrent in the history of the United States and Canada, running the length of the nations’ history and the breadth of the continent (the names of more than half of the states in the United States and Canada have Native American origins). From continuing debates over the origins of Native Americans to recent issues such as reparations, the provenance of artifacts, and sports team mascots, it is a story that continues to be written.


Social Justice Monday: Never Far from Justice

Never Far from Justice: A Look at the Criminal Justice System in Rural Communities (Part Three of the Criminal Justice Reform Series)

Social Justice Monday—February 22, 2016

More than 700,000 people in Washington live in rural communities. With only 23% completing college and an 8% unemployment rate, the criminal justice system and the need for reform is different for rural communities than it is for many metropolitan areas.  Many rural communities are more homogeneous than their urban counterparts and funding for law enforcement and the criminal justice system is more limited.

This third and final part of the criminal justice reform series will take a critical look at the challenges that rural communities face in dealing with race and economic disparity in the criminal justice system.  Today’s Social Justice Monday’s speakers, Melissa Lee from Columbia Legal Services’ Institutions Project who will discuss CLS’ work in some of Washington’s rural communities and its recent case against the Franklin County Correctional Center, and Francis Adewale, Spokane Public Defender, discussed the impact of crimes in urban and rural areas of Eastern Washington as well as racial equity disparity in pretrial release in Spokane County.

Interested in learning more? Here are some related books available in the Law Library:

Preliminary report on race and Washington’s criminal justice system
By Seattle University School of Law, Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality, Task Force on Rave and the Criminal Justice System

LAW-4th Floor (KFW562.P74 2011)

From Chair of the Washington State Access to Justice Board, Judge Steven C. González–

We are pleased to present the Preliminary Report on Race and Washington’s Criminal Justice System, authored by the Research Working Group of the Task Force on Race and the Criminal Justice System. The Research Working Group’s mandate was to investigate disproportionalities in the criminal justice system and, where disproportionalities existed, to investigate possible causes. This fact-based inquiry was designed to serve as a basis for making recommendations for changes to promote fairness, reduce disparity, ensure legitimate public safety objectives, and instill public confidence in our criminal justice system.

The Task Force came into being after a group of us met to discuss remarks on race and crime reportedly made by two sitting justices on the Washington Supreme Court. This first meeting was attended by representatives from the Washington State Bar Association, the Washington State Access to Justice Board, the commissions on Minority and Justice and Gender and Justice, and all three Washington law schools, as well as leaders from nearly all of the state’s specialty bar associations, and other leaders from the community and the bar.

We agreed that we shared a commitment to ensure fairness in the criminal justice system. We developed working groups, including the Research Working Group, whose Preliminary Report finds that race and racial bias affect outcomes in the criminal justice system and matter in ways that are not fair, that do not advance legitimate public safety objectives, and that undermine public confidence in our criminal justice system.

All of our working groups – Oversight, Community Engagement, Research, Recommendations/Implementation, and Education – are working together to develop solutions. We are fortunate to have the formal participation of a broad range of organizations and institutions, with each week bringing in new participants. A full list of the organizations and institutions on the Task Force appears on the next page. We also have many people who are contributing in an individual capacity, including many judges.

We have come together to offer our time, our energy, our expertise, and our dedication to achieve fairness in our criminal justice system.

Prison race
By Renford Reese

From the Publisher:

This book is written primarily for those members of the public — including lawmakers — who might be unaware of the damage wrought on U.S. society by decades of counterproductive criminal justice policies.

In these pages, two fundamental questions are addressed: Why have lawmakers embraced counterproductive criminal justice policies? What have been the consequences of these policies? Prison Race is a double entendre. During the past two decades in the U.S., there has been a move toward incarceration, and one group in particular has been impacted by discriminatory and unjust corrections policies driven by the promises of politicians to “get tough on crime.” Although this book is more about criminal justice policies than it is about race, it examines these policies in the context of their impact on the African American male population. The federal government’s extraordinarily slow response to the desperate black victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the surrounding areas has forced the U.S. to examine, once again, its most recalcitrant sociocultural phenomenon: racial bias. The hypothetical suggestion of former U.S. Education Secretary and national drug czar William Bennett that aborting all black babies would reduce the crime rate in the U.S. is reflective of a deeply troubling mindset.

The public was shocked and outraged at the callous and insensitive treatment of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib; however, those familiar with conditions in U.S. prisons were not surprised. Multiple human rights violations exist within the walls of our prisons, which are woefully overcrowded. Inmates are given substandard health care, sexually assaulted, warehoused and punished without opportunities for rehabilitation. Prison Race candidly examines prison conditions in the U.S. It also explores, among other issues, the business of prisons, including the positioning of prison guard unions as influential interest groups, the proliferation of prisons, and the role of prison labor in a cycle of capitalistic exploitation.

This book integrates survey data and interviews with inmates, parolees, correctional officers, and others to examine one of America’s most shameful creations, a Prison Race.