Panelists to discuss urban policing at talk on URI’s Providence campus, April 8

Posted on
Talk part of annual UrbanScape series


KINGSTON, R.I. – March 19, 2015 – Are people of color more likely to be stopped by police than whites? Are too many people of color in prison today? And does the so-called “war” on crime violate civil liberties?


Those questions dominate the headlines today, and now experts in civil rights, criminal justice and law enforcement will try to answer them during a panel discussion on the University of Rhode Island’s Providence campus.


“Policing Urban America: Who, What, Where, Why, How?” will start at 7 p.m. April 8 on the Feinstein Providence Campus, 80 Washington St., Providence. The event is free and open to the public.


“As the state’s flagship university with a strong urban presence, it is fitting for URI’s Providence Campus to serve as the catalyst for these types of difficult but necessary conversations,” says Lori E. Ciccomascolo, dean of the Feinstein College of Continuing Education and interim dean of the College of Human Science and Services. “We are excited to have this talented panel of experts on our campus and look forward to a thought provoking discussion.”


The moderator will be Marc Levitt, a local writer, storyteller, audio artist, radio host and filmmaker who is making a movie about the Narragansett Salt Pond Preserve, a Native American village that contains rare evidence of daily life before European settlement.


The panel will look at how policing in urban America has evolved in theory and practice and examine mass incarceration, surveillance, the war on crime and the way race has been a factor in recent national controversies involving police officers and people of color.


The panelists are:


Susan Herman, president of the American Civil Liberties Union and Centennial Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, where she teaches seminars on terrorism and civil liberties. She is the author of the award-winning book, “Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy.”


Leo Carroll, chair of URI’s department of sociology and the author of two books, “Hacks, Blacks and Cons: Race Relations in a Maximum Security Prison” and “Lawful Order: Correctional Crisis and Reform.” His scholarly work focuses on the criminal justice system.


Steven Pare, commissioner of public safety for Providence. Pare has more than 30 years of experience working in law enforcement and global security, including as superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police. He was appointed public safety commissioner in 2011.


Yolanda M. Scott, professor of criminal justice at Roger Williams Law School in Bristol. She is a sociologist who specializes in criminology and deviance and also studies incarceration and issues facing inmates after they are released from prison.


Those unable to attend the lecture can watch it live online at URI Live!


The discussion is part of URI’s UrbanScape series, talks throughout the academic year that focus on social and economic issues facing urban areas in Rhode Island and other states.


The URI Feinstein Providence Campus Urban Initiative, which organizes the series, seeks to promote communication between the University and urban communities and increase opportunities for collaboration and partnerships.


For more information, contact Tammy Vargas Warner, coordinator of the Urban Initiative, at 401-277-5160 or tammyvw@uri.edu.