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Oct. 18 University Forum to Feature Renowned Criminal Justice Reform Advocate

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Bryan Stevenson (photo by Nina Subin)

A prominent leader in America's criminal justice reform movement will be the next speaker for the University of Southern Mississippi’s fall 2016 University Forum series.

Bryan Stevenson, executive director and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Ala. will give the lecture “American Injustice: Mass Incarceration” at Bennett Auditorium Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 6:30 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium on the Hattiesburg campus. Admission is free and the public is invited.

In addition to his work preventing wrongful executions through the Equal Justice Initiative, Stevenson is a professor of law at New York University. He has argued five times before the U.S. Supreme Court, won the freedom of condemned prisoners as a public defense attorney while also fighting racial and economic bias. 

Stevenson’s honors include the Dayton Literary Peace Prize; the American Library Association’s Carnegie Medal for his book "Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption" and a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant. He was recently named one of the “world’s greatest leaders” by Fortune magazine.

“No one believes more in the inherent goodness of people than Bryan Stevenson.  He sees it in the prisoners he defends, some convicted when they were children, others convicted solely because they did not have the financial resources to defend themselves,” said Dr. Andrew Haley, director of University Forum and associate professor of history. “And he sees it in us, the American public. He asks us to take responsibility for our past crimes and our present over-reaction to crime, and believes that if we show a little mercy, we can have a much more just society.”

University Forum is presented by Southern Miss’s prestigious Honors College. For more information on this event and University Forum, visit https://www.usm.edu/honors/university-forum or e-mail forum@usm.edu.