justice reform

Leaders at Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County made a major announcement Thursday morning. The nonprofit is changing its name to JustCause. Leaders say low-income people in the community have negative interactions with the justice system, and often don’t feel that it works for them. JustCause is working to change that perception by providing pro bono legal services.

This hour, we talk with JustCause attorneys about how they are fosting this change, sometimes one case at a time, sometimes on broad, systemic levels. Our guests:

  • Tina Monshipour Foster, human rights lawyer, and executive director at JustCause
  • Ed Hourihan, attorney at Bond Schoeneck and King 
  • Terria Jenkins, chief trademark counsel and division counsel, legal, at Eastman Kodak Company
  • Liz McGriff, member of the City-Wide Tenant Union

We sit down with members of Spiritus Christi Prison Outreach. The program helps people leaving Monroe County Jail and state correctional facilities transition back into the community.

We hear from the program's directors about their work, and we talk to some of its participants what successful transitions look like. Our guests:

  • Jim Smith, executive director of Spiritus Christi Prison Outreach 
  • Sarah Lee, program director and alumnus of Jennifer House, part of Spiritus Christi Prison Outreach 
  • Jon Olsen, program director and alumnus of Nielsen House, part of Spiritus Christi Prison Outreach  
  • Lisa Buscemi, house manager and alumnus of Jennifer House, part of Spiritus Christi Prison Outreach   
  • Cody Spracker, Nielsen House alumnus 

Earlier this month, jurors found a Texas police officer guilty of murder for fatally shooting a St. Lucia native in his Dallas home. Officer Amber Guyger was off duty when she killed Botham Jean in 2018. During the conclusion of the murder trial, Jean’s younger brother told Guyger that he forgave her and gave her a hug.

That move shocked many people, and has led to conversations about the role of forgiveness. It’s a central theme of the upcoming Western New York Restorative Practices Conference at St. John Fisher College. This hour, we preview that conference and discuss the effectiveness of restorative practices in schools, the justice system, and more. In studio:

  • Shira May, executive director of the Partners in Restorative Initiatives
  • Danielle Ponder, criminal defense attorney, and keynote speaker at the Western New York Restorative Practices Conference
  • Ronalyn Pollack, member of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, Eagle Clan, executive director of the Native American Cultural Center, and host of "Two Canoes with Ronnie Pollack" on WYSL 92.1 FM

District attorney’s race is about justice

Oct 2, 2019

Justice is a malleable term, but fundamentally and conceptually, it is about fairness, both for people accused of crimes and people who are victims of them.

The Monroe County district attorney’s race illustrates just how subjective justice is, as a concept and as a practice. The two candidates converge on some issues and diverge on others.