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Restorative Justice and the Rights of the Incarcerated


March 27, 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Location: Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery

An event poster says "Restorative Justice and the Rights of the Incarcerated".

The Department of English hosts two events relating to law and restorative justice on March 27, inspired by the career path of 2018 UMBC English Alumna Breia Lassiter. She will return to UMBC to share her experiences with the university community. In this event, a panel discussion, Restorative Justice and the Rights of the Incarcerated, will feature Lassiter with Walter Lomax (Executive Director, Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative), and Natasha Dartigue (Office of the Public Defender, Baltimore).

Breia Lassiter, 2018 English Alumna, now works as an Associate Attorney for Dinsmore & Shohl. In her work as a law student clinician, Ms. Lassiter successfully advocated for the rights of an incarcerated man who was not receiving his religious meal accommodations from the prison. For months he could hardly eat anything that was served to him, and she was able to argue on his behalf as a student clinician at Michigan’s Sixth Circuit. The court published the opinion ruling in his favor. She will speak on her work in this specific case.

Walter Lomax, Executive Director, Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative, was unjustly incarcerated in a Baltimore area prison for 39 years for crimes he didn’t commit. Since his exoneration and release in 2007, he has used his voice to become a powerful, influential advocate for criminal justice reform in MD. He is the founder and leader of the Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative. In 2021, The Walter Lomax Act (Senate Bill 14) was signed into law, overhauling how the state compensates people who are wrongfully convicted, sentenced, and incarcerated for crimes.

Natasha Dartigue (J.D), Office of the Public Defender, Baltimore, was just appointed in 2022 as Maryland’s Public Defender and served in a related capacity in advocating for the rights of the incarcerated for more than twenty years. She and her office have been associated with helping exonerate a number of individuals recently. Ms. Dartigue will speak about the work of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. On March 18, 1963, the United States Supreme Court guaranteed the right to counsel to indigent defendants in criminal cases in the landmark case, Gideon v. Wainwright. On July 1, 1971, the Maryland Legislature created the Maryland Office of the Public Defender (OPD). OPD opened its doors in 1972 and is an independent state agency.

Admission is free.

Please join us earlier in the day for a noon presentation, From the Classroom to the Courtroom.

Co-sponsors: the UMBC Alumni Association; and the following departments: English, GWST, History, Political Science, American Studies, the Center for Social Science Scholarship (CS3); and the Dresher Center for the Humanities.



March 27
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
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