The national debate on prisons & punishment

April 28, 2005

Wilmington, North Carolina (April 25, 2005) - On June 13 and 14, 2005, the American Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology (AAFCP) will host "The National Debate on Prisons & Punishment" in Alexandria, Virginia. The debate is intended to open up discussions between corrections professionals, reformers, scholars, civil rights groups, crime victims, and the general public regarding public policies surrounding the U.S. corrections system and its role within the community at large.

Among the topics that the panels will address during the moderated debates are whether longer sentences are effective, the pros and cons of self-monitoring, the pros and cons of prison privatization, reform programs that work, whether prisons are helping ethnic communities, and whether a major goal of prisons should be preparing criminal offenders for re-entry back into communities and what communities need to support these programs.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Reginald A. Wilkinson, Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, past President of the American Correctional Association, and a leading proponent of a balanced, progressive approach to corrections--both within the prison system and in the community. Wilkinson has worked for over 30 years in various prison systems.

Other speakers include Rep. Bill McCollum (Former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee); Todd Clear (John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, NY); Marc Mauer (The Sentencing Project, Washington, DC); Bo Lozoff (Human Kindness Foundation, Durham, NC); Stephen Nathan (Prison Privatization Report Int., Greenwich, England); Alex Tabarrok (The Independent Institute, Oakland, CA); Elizabeth Alexander (ACLU National Prison Project, New York, NY); Don Specter (Prison Law Office, San Quentin, CA); Jenni Gainesborough (Prison Reform International, Washington, DC); Greg Kane (Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, MD); Paul Kopcyzinski (Private Corrections Institute, Tallahassee, FL); Ed Kropp (Institute for Global Ethics, Camden, ME); Mary Livers (Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Baltimore, MD); Patricia Muldoon (League of Women Voters, Boston, MA); Peggy Ritchie (National Institute of Corrections, Longmont, CO); Judy Stewart (Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Washington, DC); Peter Wagner (Prison Policy Initiative, Northampton, MA); Lester Welch (Sex Offender Treatment Alliance, Okemos, MI); State Rep. Kay Kahn (House of Representatives, Boston, MA) and Paul Wright (Prison Legal News, Seattle, WA).

According to Dr. John L. Gannon, President of the American Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology, "The Debate was formulated with the hope that people with disparate interest and goals in corrections will have a forum to examine their differences. Even if they leave without changing their minds on the issues, perhaps they'll have a better understanding of the issues from the other sides' perspective, which seems a laudable goal in and of itself."
For more information and to register, please visit

The American Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology (AACFP) is an organization of behavioral scientists and practitioners who are concerned with the delivery of high-quality mental health services to criminal offenders, and with promoting and disseminating research on the etiology, assessment, and treatment of criminal behavior. For more information about AAFCP, please visit

Name: John L. Gannon, Ph.D., President
American Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology
Wilmington, NC 28406
Telephone: 805.489.0665


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