The National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice (NABCJ) will host their 10th annual mini conference, “Unfinished Business”, geared toward improving criminal justice reform on April 22 at the LSC theatre from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“We will be addressing in large the part the issue of criminal justice reform, or the lack thereof,” NABCJ President Xavier Perry said. “Our keynote and opening speakers will be highlighting how CJ reform has evolved over time and some areas where the government has hit and missed.”
The conference will also highlight mental illness, as Perry believes it does not always receive adequate attention. Unfinished Business will also address the growing field of victim services, and improved methods for assisting victims. Lastly, legal liability regards how one may start with good intentions, but end up on the wrong side of the law.
“These are growing concerns for CJ employers, analysts & researchers,” Perry said. “Being exposed to criminality is not always a deterrent.”
The NABCJ is using this conference to tie together their previous conferences by approaching racial issues and analyzing how they influence the criminal justice system.
“Last year we discussed “What Would Lady Justice Do?” in reference to the fact that she is the fairest of all, and she is blindfolded while tilting the scales of justice and equality,” Perry said. “This year we decided to talk about criminal justice reform, because many of our issues previously discussed were part of a larger problem.”
Perry believes Sam Houston’s CJ program is regarded as one of the best in the nation because our department addresses and solves difficult issues. Therefore, it only makes sense for the NABCJ to confront sensitive matters.
“As a nationally chartered CJ organization, it is imperative we discuss these things,” Perry said. “The future of criminal justice lies within our colleges, and a great place to start is a university with a highly touted CJ program. SHSU breeds excellence within all departments, but especially in the field of criminal justice.”
The NABCJ organizations hopes this conference leaves a lasting impression to enlighten and guide others in future endeavors.
“We hope that everyone leaves the conference with a different viewpoint on the issues in criminal justice, and how to approach them as future CJ professionals,” Perry said. “These issues discussed can be used in CJ research, presentations and other CJ organization conferences in the future.”
The public is encouraged, but not required, to pre-register for free breakfast, lunch, t-shirt, and networking opportunity at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/unfinished-business-where-is-the-village-tickets-31854775491. The early bird registration fee is five dollars, and will increase to eight dollars after April 19. Anyone may register, and 125 people have already committed to the event, including citizens from Wiley College, Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern University.
The suggested attire is business professional; however, attendees are welcome to come as they are. The conference agenda is as follows:
After everyone finishes his or her breakfast and registration forms, National NABCJ President Terri McGee will give an opening address. Then a series of workshops will proceed until lunch is provided.
In the first session, Keith Branch will present what real world training is, and how to maintain a supportive village. Walker County’s Victim Assistance Coordinator Beth Malak will discuss what victim assistance coordination is and why it is necessary.
In the second session, TSU Forensic Lab Director Dr. Jasmine Drake will share the life of a DEA agent. SHSU Staff Counselor Dr. Danielle Sirles will then examine the stigmatization of mental illness.
To conclude the workshops, a keynote will be delivered and EPA Resident Agent in Charge Edwin Debiew will present a speech called “Unfinished Business: Where is the Village”.
President Xavier Perry will provide closing remarks and a presentation of awards before everyone finishes the day with lunch.