Even though research shows that African American males are no more likely to use or sell drugs than Caucasian males, in at least 15 states they are admitted to prison on drug charges at rates 20 to 57 times higher. Some law students are drawn to pursue legal careers with the goal of bringing positive change to these and other statistics and to impact the criminal justice system on a neighborhood level. What can law students do to learn more about what restorative justice means and help to build a better criminal justice system professionally?
In this episode of the ABA Law Student Podcast host Fabiani Duarte invites guest host Amanda Joy Washington to sit down with organizer, law student, and activist Ruby-Beth Buitekant to discuss restorative justice and the Black Lives Matter movement. Ruby-Beth opens by sharing some of her early work experience with the Center for Court Innovation, through the Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets program, and discusses the transformative effects the program has had on her Crown Heights, Brooklyn neighborhood. She then explores the concept that humans should be free of state and interpersonal violence, an approach that is the basis for a lot of her work. The group then analyzes the use of disruption as a tactic in activism and ponder the statement “All Lives Matter” that has arisen in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Ruby-Beth then wraps up the discussion with some information on how law students can get more involved in, and learn more about, restorative justice.