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The COVID-19 public health crisis has created a “natural experiment” in policing and criminal justice policy as cities and states struggle to deal with the pandemic in jails and prisons. This is a moment of opportunity in the long movement to end mass incarceration and secure equal justice, but also a moment of obvious threat to incarcerated people, their families and their communities. 

This event will bring together New York City Council Member and Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee, Keith Powers, Legal Action Center Vice President of Policy Advocacy, Tracie Gardner, and Senior Staff Attorney & Director of Policy at Brooklyn Defender Services, Scott Hechinger, to discuss the pandemic in New York and the future of criminal justice policy in the city and state.

This event will be live from BPL's youtube channel:

The exact link will be posted here shortly before the event and e-mailed out to all who register.


Keith Powers 

Council Member Keith Powers represents New York City’s Council District 4. As Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee, Council Member Powers has worked to overhaul the criminal justice system and change the culture in our City’s jails. He played a key role in stewarding the vote to close Rikers Island and has passed legislation to eliminate bail fees. Keith graduated from the University of Dayton and The CUNY Graduate Center. He is a lifelong New Yorker and third-generation resident in Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town.


Tracie M. Gardner

As Legal Action Center Vice President of Policy Advocacy, Tracie spearheads major initiatives and fosters strategic partnerships that support LAC’s mission. From 2015-2017, Tracie served as the Assistant Secretary of Health for New York State, where she oversaw the state’s addiction, mental health and developmental disabilities agencies. Tracie has worked almost 30 years in the health and social services policy arena as a policy advocate, trainer and lobbyist. Tracie received a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College.


Scott Hechinger

Scott Hechinger is Founder and Director of Zealous, a national initiative that activates, trains, and supports public defenders, in partnership with local organizations and the people and communities defenders serve, to move their advocacy outside of court. For nearly a decade, Scott served as a public defender in Brooklyn. He also served for years as Director of Policy at Brooklyn Defender Services, co-founded the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, and designed multiple new media advocacy films and campaigns. Scott speaks widely, guest lectures at law schools and universities, and his work and commentary are regularly featured in a range of outlets. Scott lives in Brooklyn and is a graduate of New York University School of Law.

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