Conference Participants

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Keynote

Professor Bernardine Dohrn

A Clinical Associate Professor of Law at Northwestern Law School and Director and founder of the Children and Family Justice Center, Professor Dohrn is a child advocate who teaches, lectures and writes about children's law, juvenile justice, the needs and rights of youth, and international human rights. She is a member of the Local School Council of the Nancy B. Jefferson School, the steering committee of the Illinois Family Violence Coordinating Committee, and co-chair of the National Children's Law Network. She is an author and co-editor of two books: A Century of Juvenile Justice (2002) and Resisting Zero Tolerance: A Handbook for Parents, Teachers and Students (2001) and the author of "Somethin's Happening Here: Children and Human Rights Jurisprudence in Two International Courts", UNLV L.Rev. Summer 2006, All Ellas: Girls Locked Up in Feminist Studies (Summer 2004) and Look Out Kid/Its Something You Did! Zero Tolerance for Children in The Public Assault on Americas Children: Poverty, Violence, and Juvenile Injustice (2000). She writes and lectures on international human rights law, torture, juvenile justice and extreme sentencing of youth, family violence and school law. Professor Dohrn teaches juvenile justice, torture, children's human rights and international law at Northwestern. She is annually a visiting professor at the University of Chicago Human Rights Program and Leiden University faculty of law in the Netherlands. Professor Dohrn is a graduate of the University of Chicago College and the Law School.

Panel 1

Professor Deborah Weissman

Professor Weissman is the Reef Ivey II Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Programs at UNC School of Law. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Syracuse University and graduated cum laude from Syracuse University Law School. Prior to teaching law, she has had extensive experience in all phases of legal advocacy, including labor law, family, education related civil rights, and immigration law in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Tampa, Florida, and as a partner in a civil rights firm in Syracuse, New York. From 1994 to 1998, she was Deputy Director and then Executive Director at Legal Services of North Carolina. Her recent publications include "The Personal is Political And Economic: Rethinking Domestic Violence", 2007 BYU L. Rev. 387 (2007) and "Domestic Violence in the PostIndustrial Household", in Violence against Women in Families and Relationships (Evan Stark and Eve Buzawa eds. 2009).

Jason Langberg

Mr. Langberg is a recent graduate of Boston College Law School and currently works as an Everett Fellow at the Advocates for Children's Services (ACS) of North Carolina. He is the co-author of the ACS Issue Brief "Zero Tolerance for the School-to-Prison Pipeline in Wake County." While in law school he interned at the Children's Law Center of Massachusetts and the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and was a student attorney in the Juvenile Rights Advocacy Project and the BC Defenders Clinic.

Nia Wilson

Ms. Wilson is a poet, performer, and storyteller and is also the current executive director of SpiritHouse, a local grassroots organization committed to holistic healing. She works with fellow artists, organizers, and community members to assess, express, and address their own needs. SpiritHouse works to support the empowerment and transformation of communities most affected by racism, poverty, gender discrimination, and the school to prison pipeline, through innovative grassroots programs, cultural arts and community collaboration.

Panel 2

Professor Barbara Fedders

Before joining the UNC School of Law faculty in January 2008, Barbara Fedders was a clinical instructor at the Harvard Law School Criminal Justice Institute for four years. Prior to that, she worked for the Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services as a Soros Justice Fellow and staff attorney. Professor Fedders began her career in clinical work at the Juvenile Rights Advocacy Project at Boston College Law School. As a law student, she was a Root-Tilden-Snow scholar and she co-founded the NYU Prisoners' Rights and Education Project. She is a member of the advisory boards of the Prison Policy Initiative and the Equity Project. Her research interests include children in conflict with the law, critical race theory and queer theory.

Elizabeth Albiston

Ms. Albiston is a civil attorney at North Carolina Prison Legal Services, Inc. (NCPLS), a non-profit law firm serving the almost 40,000 men and women incarcerated by the North Carolina Department of Correction. She is a 2007 graduate from the UNC School of Law, where she represented criminally charged juveniles and worked as an advocate for transgender prisoners. Prior to her employment at NCPLS, she worked as a criminal defense attorney.

Jon Rapping

Mr. Rapping is the Founder/CEO of the Southern Public Defender Training Center (SPDTC). Mr. Rapping is on the faculty of the John Marshall Law School in Atlanta, GA, where he teaches criminal law and criminal procedure. He is the former Training Director of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, an office nationally known for its training program. Following his tenure at PDS, in 2004 Mr. Rapping became the first Training Director of Georgia's new state-wide public defender system. In that capacity he was responsible for designing training programs for both legal and non-legal staff statewide. Mr. Rapping then became the Director of Training and Recruitment for the Orleans Public Defenders, where he was integral in the efforts to rebuild the public defender system in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Dr. David Wohl

Dr. Wohl is an associate professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and co-directs HIV services for the North Carolina Department of Corrections. Dr. Wohl is an investigator in the NIAID-sponsored AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) and a member of the ACTG Complications of HIV Disease Research Agenda Committee. His research focuses on metabolic and infectious complications of HIV and its therapies, as well as issues related to medication adherence and access to care -- particularly among incarcerated inmates with HIV infection.

Panel 3

Tom Kim

After serving 2.5 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for two armed robbery convictions, Mr. Kim enrolled in the journalism program at the University of Illinois. Upon graduation, he went on to get his Master's degree in journalism at the University of Maryland before embarking on a career in print journalism. His work has appeared in the (Baltimore) Sun, the San Antonio Express-News, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Cleveland Scene and the Intelligence Report. After spending more than eight years in journalism, he decided go back to school for his J.D. and is currently a 2L at UNC.

Nkechi Taifa

Ms. Taifa is a senior policy analyst for civil and criminal justice reform at the Open Society Policy Center (OSPC). She works to influence public policy in support of comprehensive justice reform. Prior to joining OSPC, Ms. Taifa served for ten years as an adjunct professor at Howard University School of Law and was the founding director of the Law School's award-winning Equal Justice Program. Ms. Taifa spent four years as legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), serving as the principal spokesperson for the ACLU Washington office on criminal justice and civil rights issues. Ms. Taifa received her J.D. from George Washington University Law School. She graduated magna cum laude from Howard University with a B.A. in history and education.

Marsha Weissman

Dr. Weissman is the Executive Director of the Center for Community Alternatives (CCA), which provides direct services, training, technical assistance and research in the field of community corrections and related human services. A 1970 graduate of Syracuse University, Dr. Weissman holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration from New York University and has a Ph.D. in Social Science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship, Syracuse University. Through her work at the CCA, Dr. Weissman has spent much of her time educating the public and policy makers on implementing a more effective criminal justice system, by decreasing the unnecessary imprisonment of offenders, expanding alternatives to incarceration and treatment programs and ameliorating conditions in prisons and jails. In 1990, Dr. Weissman developed the first substance abuse treatment program in New York State serving women as an alternative to prison. She has been actively involved in the design and implementation of the Syracuse Community Treatment Court.

Jesse Battle

Mr. Battle, himself an ex-offender, is the Director of Men's Programs at Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abuse (TROSA). He joined the TROSA staff soon after graduating from the TROSA program in 1997. Serving the TROSA community, Mr. Battle has been department head of several departments, including: Medical, Intake, Front Office, Special Events, Aftercare and Education. With the assistance of a Glaxo Wellcome scholarship Mr. Battle earned a degree in network administration from Durham Technical Community College and is a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor. He serves on the board of Troy House Community Corrections Center, NC Alcohol and Drug Council, Durham Teen Court, Durham Drug Court, and is a North Carolina Addictions Fellow.
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