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Albert Woodfox, author of the recently released memoir “Solitary: Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement. My Story of Transformation and Hope,” reflected on the four decades he spent in solitary confinement for a crime he did not commit during a panel discussion at The Fortune Society’s Long Island City Headquarters on March 28.
Vincent Schiraldi, Founder of the Justice Policy Institute, and Ismael Nazario, a Database System Analyst at Fortune, who spent two years in solitary confinement on Rikers Island as a teenager, joined Woodfox in a moving dialogue about living in solitary confinement and the changes that can be made to reform the criminal justice system.
In his remarks, Woodfox discussed how changing the culture within the criminal justice system is the first step to improvement. He says, “Change starts with accountability and community oversite. We need to change the public’s perception that prisoners don’t come from another planet, they come from our families. Our communities need to hold policy makers and those who work in the criminal justice system accountable for their actions. Until that changes, there is nothing you can do to change the culture of prisons.”
The panel discussion, which was attended by nearly 100 people, was moderated David Rothenberg, Founder of The Fortune Society, and can be viewed on The Fortune Society’s Facebook Page here: https://www.facebook.com/fortunesociety/
Rothenberg closed out the panel by encouraging all to communicate with their elected officials to implement change. He says, “Use your legislators and representatives in government. Let them know about these issues and pay attention to their response. We can either sit down and complain or we can find the people who can make a difference and use them. We can make it happen.”
The Fortune Society is one of the nation’s most respected nonprofit organizations serving and advocating for people with criminal justice involvement.
For more information about The Fortune Society, visit www.fortunesociety.org.