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Chair’s Book Club Deep Dive: The State of the South’s Criminal Justice System
You’re invited to join a discussion on the state of mass incarceration and capital punishment – two themes central to Anthony Ray Hinton’s personal account in The Sun Does Shine – featuring Sara Totonchi, executive director of the Southern Center for Human Rights.

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, approximately 2.3 million Americans are currently held in the nation’s jails and prisons. The United States imprisons more people than any other nation, and Southern states have among the highest rates of incarceration. Systemic inequities at every level of the criminal justice system mean that people of color experience a higher number of arrests, receive harsher penalties, and are more likely to receive a capital sentence.

Expanding on Ray Hinton’s account of Alabama’s death row in The Sun Does Shine, this program will examine these systemic inequities and explore paths to creating a more equitable and humane system of justice in the South. We’ll discuss:

• The historical and cultural roots of inequities in the criminal justice system in the South;
• How the South’s criminal justice system compares with the nation and the world;
• Examples of systemic inequities through the stories of SCHR’s work and its clients;
• How SCHR and similar organizations are engaging in systems change.

Jul 16, 2020 10:00 AM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Sara J. Totonchi
Executive Director @Southern Center for Human Rights
Sara J. Totonchi is executive director of the Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR), a nonprofit law firm that is working in the Deep South to end mass incarceration, the death penalty, and the criminalization of poverty. Sara joined SCHR in 2001 as public policy director and became executive director in 2010. Sara led coalition efforts and legislative advocacy to establish Georgia’s statewide public defender system and enact criminal justice reforms. As executive director, Sara leads SCHR in carrying out its mission to dramatically transform the criminal justice system. Sara has been recognized for her work by several publications, including being named by Atlanta Magazine as one of "Five of the Future" leaders of Atlanta. Sara and her family immigrated to the United States when she was a child.