“Redemption Project” screening and discussion of criminal justice reform

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – A screening of Van Jones’ newest CNN original series, “The Redemption Project,” will be shown at the Rockingham Free Public Library Nov. 20, from 6-8:30 p.m. The event will include an appearance by #cut50 National Organizer, Louis L. Reed, who is traveling to over 10 states on a year long Empathy Tour to learn about the needs of those impacted by mass incarceration. The event is free and open to the public.

The CNN series exposes the process of reconciliation and restorative justice and highlights its potential to heal communities and brings forward the best in humanity. Jones, a #cut50 co-founder, creates space for in-depth discussions between offenders and those directly impacted by their violent crimes as part of the restorative justice process.

#cut50 is a national initiative of the Dream Corps that works to reduce the prison population while aiming to make communities safer. The campaigns are led by people who have been directly impacted by the justice system and want to create change. #cut50 has led successful days of advocacy and change with the National Day of Empathy to highlight the reforms needed in the criminal justice system.

JR Layne, a recovery coach with the Turning Point Recovery Center of Springfield, Citizen Advisory Board member of Greater Falls Community Justice Center, and person with lived experience, spoke about the importance of this event within the community. Layne said, “The #cut50 initiative continues a conversation that is crucial in Vermont, as well as the nation. It is a community discussion where everyone has a voice and leads to a radical overhaul of our penal system, including our family and criminal courts.”

Layne added, “Our present system unfortunately contributes to recidivism, substance use disorders, and the degradation of our family structure and values. This must be changed. This is our responsibility as a community.”

After the screening of an episode of “The Redemption Project,” a multi-member panel will moderate a conversation around criminal justice reform in Vermont. The panel will include members from the Turning Point Recovery Center of Springfield, Greater Falls Community Justice Center, the ACLU of Vermont, and those with lived experience.

The night will also include information on the recent publication of the “Blueprint for Smart Justice,” which can be found on the ACLU of Vermont website.

This event is hosted by Greater Falls Community Justice Center, Greater Falls Connections, and Turning Point Recovery Center in partnership with the ACLU of Vermont. The Rockingham Free Public Library is located at 65 Westminster St., Bellows Falls, Vt. Free parking can be found at the municipal lot located at 2 Church St.

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