Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Free, two-day workshop in Columbus will help journalists cover local jails, criminal justice system

We reported yesterday that rural jail populations have increased in the last five years, largely through longer incarceration on inmates awaiting trial. The are many issues to explore with local jails and the criminal-justice system, and The Poynter Institute will host a free, intensive workshop in Columbus, Ohio, June 21-22 to help journalists better understand the causes of local incarceration and its consequences, and how some communities are addressing these issues. Al Tompkins, Poynter's senior faculty for broadcast and online, will lead the workshop; some seminars will be led by representatives from the Vera Institute of Justice, which has done extensive research on local jails, and The Marshall Project. The deadline to apply is May 7. From the workshop website:

"Local jails are the gateway to the U.S. justice system. They are overloaded, overused and, while they were intended to house people who were deemed to be a societal danger or a flight risk before trial, they have become warehouses, often for people who have not been convicted of a crime but cannot afford to bail themselves out. In some cities, jails are filled with people who suffer from addictions and mental illness."

Thanks to a grant from the MacArthur Foundation's Safety and Justice Challenge, tuition, hotel costs and most meals will be covered for those whose applications are accepted. Attendees are responsible for flights or transportation, though Poynter has some limited flight funding for hardship cases. Seats will be saved for local journalists at the workshop. And if you can't go to the one in Columbus, the workshop will be held again in Oklahoma City from Aug. 1-2 (the deadline to apply for that workshop is June 8). Previous workshops have been held in New York and Salt Lake City.

Click here to apply or for more information about the Columbus workshop.

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