Washington State University Tri-Cities will host several presentations on potential solutions for the school-to-prison pipeline, as well as barriers for individuals’ successful re-entry into society from prison, as part of its latest “Community Classroom” series that begins this month.

Presenters will provide perspectives and strategies for how communities can proactively change statistics and pathways for successful rehabilitation. Attendees will be invited to explore the current state of affairs in the regional Tri-Cities area and investigate opportunities for stronger partnerships for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated members locally

Join us in learning from esteemed friends of the university including social service workers, educators, elected officials, prison leadership and WSU alumni as we go back to school to be better neighbors, leaders, and citizens and invest in developing a more inclusive Tri-Cities. 

The Community Classroom events are presented in partnership by the WSU Tri-Cities Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and the WSU Tri-Cities MOSAIC Center for Student Inclusion.

Cultivating the Prison-to-College Pipeline:
A Conversation with Noel Vest on Addiction Recovery, Post-Secondary Education and Prison Reentry
 

February 10 | 4 p.m.
OPEN TO STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY & TRI-CITIES COMMUNITY

Noel Vest, a formerly incarcerated scholar and WSU Tri-Cities alumnus, will discuss principles and strategies for building a pathway out of incarceration and into higher education with moderator Anna Plemons, WSU Tri-Cities assistant vice chancellor of academic affairs. Drawing on his expertise as a post-doctoral research fellow in the Systems Neuroscience and Pain Lab at Stanford, Vest will speak to the ways addiction and recovery impact reentry.

SPEAKER

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Dr. Noel Vest

Bio

Dr. Noel Vest is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Systems Neuroscience and Pain Lab at the Stanford University School of Medicine, where he works with Dr. Keith Humphreys to address problems related to substance use disorder across a variety of populations. As a formerly incarcerated scholar, Dr. Vest is a strong advocate for social justice issues and public policy concerning substance use disorder recovery and prison reentry. His research interests include mental health, substance use disorders, poverty, social justice, pain, collegiate recovery, and prison reentry. He received his Ph.D. and Master’s in Experimental Psychology from Washington State University.

The Role of the Community in Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline

March 25 | 4 p.m.
OPEN TO STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY & TRI-CITIES COMMUNITY

This panel will discuss the role of the community and schools, in particular, in reducing the number of individuals entering the prison system. Speaking from respective areas of expertise, the moderated panel will discuss the possibilities and challenges of this work, as well as share ideas about how communities can come together to support members most vulnerable to incarceration.

SPEAKERS

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Dr. Ericka Walters 

Bio

Dr. Ericka Walters holds a doctorate in education. She has served as a dedicated educator, advocate and scholar in K-12 and higher education for more than 20 years. She is the founder and CEO of Launching Legacies, a faith-based non-profit that helps individuals and families set and achieve goals and make significant life changes using positive psychology. This work now extends into the classroom through Dr. Walters’ work with transitional-aged youth (ages 16-25).

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Harry B. Grant Jr. 

Bio

Harry Grant, Jr., is a registered drug and alcohol counselor. Since his incarceration, he has devoted his time to public sector and private, faith-based interventions with the intention of “being of service to God and man.” Grant has experience with credit bearing and non-credit bearing prison education, and has nearly completed his associates degree in Social Sciences. He is also a graduate of The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI), where he completed his seminary training in christian leadership. He aims to complete a master of arts degree in theology and ministry from Fuller Seminary.

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Emmanuel “Manny” Garcia  

Bio

Emmanuel “Manny” Garcia is a middle/high school counselor for the Soap Lake School District in Soap Lake, Washington. Over the past six years, he has been called upon by educators, high schools, community agencies, universities, community colleges, and religious organizations to facilitate discussions that motivate students all across the region, and more specifically to encourage and inspire students in support of their career aspirations and academic interests. He is an alumnus of Big Bend Community College, Washington State University Tri-Cities, and the TRiO Student Support Services program. He is currently earning a master’s of sciences at Gonzaga University and Capella University. In addition to serving his community as a school counselor, he is also the project consultant/assistant program manager for Building The Bridges East – a mentorship program for at-risk youth (ages 12-18), whose organizational mission is to reduce youth crime and violence in Washington state.

An Inside Look at Washington State Prison Rehabilitative Programs and the Role of Community Advocacy in Program Success 

April 21 | 4 p.m.
OPEN TO STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY & TRI-CITIES COMMUNITY

Join this panel discussion on the affordances of rehabilitative programs for incarcerated people. Each panelist will present on programs they oversaw or currently work with, as well as the role of the community in advocating for and providing resources and opportunities within local and state facilities.

SPEAKERS

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Secretary Stephen SinclairSecretary of the Washington State Department of Corrections 

Bio

Stephen Sinclair was appointed Secretary of the Washington State Department of Corrections by Governor Jay Inslee on April 25, 2017. After serving in the U.S. Army, Sinclair began his more than 30-year career at the Washington State Department of Corrections as a correctional officer and gained progressively greater responsibilities as an investigator, sergeant, associate superintendent, superintendent, and assistant secretary.  

Sinclair is co-director of the Sustainability in Prisons Project (SPP), which is a unique partnership with the Evergreen State College. SPP brings science and nature to prisons, it educates and employs incarcerated individuals in a multitude of skills all contributing to science and our environment.  

As superintendent of the Washington State Penitentiary, Sinclair created and pioneered the Sustainable Practices Lab, which employs incarcerated individuals in jobs that reduce the cost of facility operations, provides meaningful vocational work and skills training while reducing idleness, and allows them the opportunity to give back to the community. The lab employs more than 120 people and is a national model of innovation that reduces recidivism.  

Some of Sinclair’s proudest accomplishments include implementation of an outcome-based management system and refreshing the agency’s mission and values to integrate equitable treatment of all employees, embrace diversity and foster an environment of inclusion and respect. Shifting the agency values to a more human centered approach will enhance the agency’s ability to deliver reentry services to improve public safety by positively changing lives. 

Sinclair successfully introduced and helped pass Agency Request Legislation to reform Washington Corrections, of which examples include: 

  • Graduated Reentry – which allows qualifying individuals to serve up to a year in a community-based Work Release program followed by up to 6 months on electronic home monitoring with intensive community supervision. This has reduced the prison population and created a new pathway for successful reentry.  
  • In 2020, he led the effort to further reform the system, by introducing legislation that reduced community supervision to better align with the research indicating extended periods of supervision does not reduce recidivism.  
  • In the coming year, Sinclair will lead an effort to introduce legislation to address the racial disparity that exist within the criminal justice system. 

Sinclair has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington. He is a member of the American Correctional Association, Correctional Leaders Association and a Commissioner of the Washington State Criminal Sentencing Taskforce, Sentencing Guidelines Commission and Criminal Justice Training Commission. Sinclair is a 2009 recipient of the Governor’s Award for Leadership in Management.

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Robert JacksonAssociate Superintendent of the Washington State Penitentiary 

Bio

Robert Jackson began his career with the Washington State Penitentiary (WSP) in the summer of 1991 as an Intern with the mental health program. In 1993, he was hired as a correctional mental health counselor I, where he worked his way up to the role of first-level supervisor of the in-patient mental health unit in October 2001. 

In 2003, Jackson was promoted to corrections specialist 3, tracking security threat group (gang) activity at WSP. At various times from 2003-2007, he served as acting unit manager for all three close custody living units, as well as segregation at WSP. In 2007, his position was transitioned into an emergency management specialist where he oversaw the facility’s emergency management processes and procedures under the direction of the facility’s emergency management coordinator.

Jackson transferred to the WSP intelligence and investigations unit as the chief investigator in 2007, before being promoted to correctional program manager for the East Complex in 2013. The minimum-unit complex can house up to 815 incarcerated individuals. He also supervised the WSP property, mailroom, visiting, and community partnership programs.

In November of 2015, Jackson was promoted to his current position as associate superintendent. His zones of control include the four close custody living units, two medium custody living units, roster office, training department, law libraries and the armory. He also serves as the emergency management coordinator for the facility. 

Jackson received an associate of arts degree from Walla Walla Community College in 1991 before graduating from Washington State University with a bachelor’s of science degree in psychology in 1996. He is a past member of the department’s incident management team, graduate of the Prison Fellowship Warden’s Exchange Program and, in 2018, became a Certified Diversity Executive through the Institute for Diversity Certification.  

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 Carol Hinds, Family Advocate 

Bio

Married 45 years and living in Los Angeles, Carol Hinds retired from a 40-year career in healthcare. She is the parent of an inmate who is serving a 25 years-to-life sentence, which he began in 2000 at the age of 18. Hinds has served more than 18 years on two inmate family councils since her son became incarcerated. She is also a member of the Statewide Inmate Family Council at the California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation headquarters in downtown Sacramento. In addition to advocating for families as a member of these councils, she became an advocate and speaker for the Arts in Corrections program, sharing personal stories that reflect the positive and healing effects that art, music and creative writing have had on her son and others in prison. The Arts in Corrections program has saved many lives. Advocating for the program has become a lifeline and a pathway of opportunity for her to be involved in the prison process in a positive way.

Section 1

History of Civil Rights in the Tri-Cities: Past and Present

September 30 | 4 p.m.
OPEN TO STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY & TRI-CITIES COMMUNITY

Robert Bauman and Robert Franklin, both History faculty at Washington State University, Tri-Cities, will give a presentation on the history of African-American activism in the Tri-Cities from the 1940s-1970s.  The presentation will highlight efforts to end racial segregation in the Tri-Cities, including civil rights marches in Kennewick and Pasco in the 1960s and 1970s.  The presentation is based on material from their forthcoming book, Echoes of Exclusion and Resistance: Voices from the Hanford Region, to be published by WSU Press in November.

This event will also welcome the following panelists: life coach and radio personality Reka Robinson, Daishaundra Loving-Hearne, co-CEO of the Urban Poets Society and organizer with the Black Lives Matter Coalition: Tri-Cities, and Naima Chambers Smith, CEO of the Tri-Cities Diversity and Inclusion Council. They will talk about the advocacy efforts they are spearheading within our local community around racial justice and how others can be a part of supporting the work.

SPEAKERS

Dr. Robert Bauman
Dr. Robert Bauman
Robert Bauman is Professor of History and Academic Director of Arts and Sciences at Washington State University, Tri-Cities.  He is co-editor, with Robert Franklin, of the forthcoming book, Echoes of Exclusion and Resistance: Voices from the Hanford Region, to be published by WSU Press in November.
Robert Franklin
Robert Franklin
Robert Franklin is the Assistant Director and Archivist of the Hanford History Project, Director of the Hanford Oral History Project, and a Lecturer in the History Department at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. He is co-editor, with Robert Bauman, on two books using oral histories to tell the history of the Hanford region. The first volume of that series, Nowhere to Remember: Hanford, White Bluffs, and Richland to 1943 was released in 2018 by WSU Press, and the forthcoming book, Echoes of Exclusion and Resistance: Voices from the Hanford Region, to be published by WSU Press in November.
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Robert Franklin is the Assistant Director and Archivist of the Hanford History Project, Director of the Hanford Oral History Project, and a Lecturer in the History Department at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. He is co-editor, with Robert Bauman, on two books using oral histories to tell the history of the Hanford region. The first volume of that series, Nowhere to Remember: Hanford, White Bluffs, and Richland to 1943 was released in 2018 by WSU Press, and the forthcoming book, Echoes of Exclusion and Resistance: Voices from the Hanford Region, to be published by WSU Press in November.

PANELISTS

Dr. Robert Bauman
Dr. Robert Bauman
Robert Bauman is Professor of History and Academic Director of Arts and Sciences at Washington State University, Tri-Cities.  He is co-editor, with Robert Franklin, of the forthcoming book, Echoes of Exclusion and Resistance: Voices from the Hanford Region, to be published by WSU Press in November.
Dr. Robert Bauman
Dr. Robert Bauman
Robert Bauman is Professor of History and Academic Director of Arts and Sciences at Washington State University, Tri-Cities.  He is co-editor, with Robert Franklin, of the forthcoming book, Echoes of Exclusion and Resistance: Voices from the Hanford Region, to be published by WSU Press in November.
Dr. Robert Bauman
Dr. Robert Bauman
Robert Bauman is Professor of History and Academic Director of Arts and Sciences at Washington State University, Tri-Cities.  He is co-editor, with Robert Franklin, of the forthcoming book, Echoes of Exclusion and Resistance: Voices from the Hanford Region, to be published by WSU Press in November.
Section 2
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History of Civil Rights in the Tri-Cities: Past and Present

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history of Civil Rights in the Tri-Cities: Past & Present

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Dr. Bob Bauman

Robert Bauman is Professor of History and Academic Director of Arts and Sciences at Washington State University, Tri-Cities.  He is co-editor, with Robert Franklin, of the forthcoming book, Echoes of Exclusion and Resistance: Voices from the Hanford Region, to be published by WSU Press in November.

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Robert Franklin

Robert Franklin is the Assistant Director and Archivist of the Hanford History Project, Director of the Hanford Oral History Project, and a Lecturer in the History Department at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. He is co-editor, with Robert Bauman, on two books using oral histories to tell the history of the Hanford region. The first volume of that series, Nowhere to Remember: Hanford, White Bluffs, and Richland to 1943 was released in 2018 by WSU Press, and the forthcoming book, Echoes of Exclusion and Resistance: Voices from the Hanford Region, to be published by WSU Press in November.

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Reka Robinson

Reka is a relationship life coach for women and a radio personality who is using her platforms and status as a Tri-Cities public figure to promote conversations around race and voter registration. Recently she spearheaded a series called “Race Conversations” on public radio and organized a mobile voter registration campaign. This year she was named Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of Eastern WA and Northern Idaho, as well as top 10 Female Life Coach of 2020 by Yahoo! Finance for her work in empowering women.

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Naima Chambers-Smith

Naima is the founder and CEO of the Tri-Cities Diversity & Inclusion Council (TCD&IC) 501(c)(3) and organizer of the Tri-Cities Collective Black Voice. She also serves as commissioner on the City of Pasco’s Inclusivity Diversity and Equity Commission (PIDEC.) She is a member of the African American Community Cultural & Educational Society (AACCES) and Racial Equity & Social Justice (RESJ) Coalition while also volunteering for the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN) and Tri-Cities Mutual Aid Fund.  Naima has over 20 years’ progressive law enforcement experience and is a DEI leader and trainer for officers, managers, and staff members of the Oregon Department of Corrections. She brings the lived experience of a multi-racial, multicultural family who also works as an independent DEI consultant and trainer.

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Daishaundra Loving-Hearne

Daishaundra Loving-Hearne is no stranger to the arts or the power of it. She is a writer, a CEO of Urban Poets Society, youth advocate, and a founder of the Black Lives Matter Coalition: Tri-Cities.

Digital Dissensus: Discovering Truth in an Era of Misinformation

October 22 | 4 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
OPEN TO STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY & TRI-CITIES COMMUNITY

Are conspiracy theorists and anti-maskers anti-fact? Or is there a deeper dynamic at play? Mike Caulfield, director of blended and networked learning at WSU Vancouver and nationally recognized digital literacy expert will discuss the roots of our current “digital dissensus” and explain how our approach to education may be making the problem worse. How do we design education for a world where information is plentiful, and attention is the scarcity? How do we encourage analysis and engagement in our students without having those same impulses gamed by bad actors? What epistemic stances and heuristics serve the public in a world where expertise is niche and very little is directly verifiable, and where facts are atomized, separated from analysis, and reassembled in bizarre and dangerous ways?

SPEAKERS

Mike Caulfield

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Mike Caulfield is the director of blended and networked learning at Washington State University, Vancouver and a nationally recognized digital literacy expert. His areas of expertise include informal learning, online communities and open educational resources with special interest in civic literacy and digital citizenship.

Dr. Anna Plemons

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Dismantling Racism: The Game of Change

October 29 | 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
OPEN TO STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY & TRI-CITIES COMMUNITY

Racism in our world is not a new issue. In the current climate no one wants to be deemed “bad” but people struggle with maintaining systems of power and privilege and being deemed a “good” person.  While faculty and community practitioners have some knowledge of the historical roots of structural racism, there is a lack of awareness of the impact of this social construct, and that it is supported by implicit bias.  Through the lens of medical education and popular culture we will explore how this works and what we can do address and stifle it in academe and society.

This workshop/discussion will offer members of various communities the language and practices to move the “center at the margins” – that is to shift their view point from a majority group’s perspective to that of the marginalized group or groups. We plan to provide strategies to help faculty become more aware of the problems of bias and structural racism.  We will broach ways to reduce the systemic impact on resident and other faculty evaluations. Utilizing principles presented in work by Dr. Robert R. Gaiser on teaching professionalism: i.e. reflective thinking, metacognition, and transformational learning in a small group interactive environment we hope to translate practices that are applicable to things like sports culture and daily life.

SPEAKERS

Dr. Thabiti Lewis

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Thabiti Lewis is professor of English and interim associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at Washington State University, Vancouver. He is also the editor of Conversations with Toni Cade Bambara and Ballers of the New School: Race and Sports in America. He writes extensively about masculinity, sports, and popular culture and has published work in the areas of literary studies and history and popular culture and critical race. He has lectured widely about critical race, masculinity and sports culture. Professor Lewis conducts a workshop called “The Anti-racist Locker” and has worked with Dr. Theard to examine approaches for eliminating or reducing systemic racism in medical education and society.

Dr. Marie Theard, MD

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Dr. Theard completed her residency at University of Illinois in Chicago and a fellowship in Neuroanesthesia at Washington University in St. Louis.  She is currently director of Neuroanesthesia in the Dept. of Anesthesiology at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Theard has published several articles illuminating the limitations of structural racism in academia and education, conducted surveys on DEI, and workshops examining approaches for eliminating or reducing systemic racism in medical education. As a former co-chair and now member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee of the Society of Neurosciences in Anesthesiology and Critical care, she has hosted conferences to address how to improve medical training in order to effect more equity and inclusion in medicine. In an effort to engage Portland’s African American community, she was recently awarded a mentorship grant from the American Society of Anesthesiology’s Professional Diversity Committee to begin a pipeline project to increase interest among African American high school students for careers in medicine.

Previous Speaker Series

Race, Equity and Engaged Citizenship | 2020 Community Classroom Series

History of Civil Rights in the Tri-Cities: Past and Present

Robert Bauman and Robert Franklin, both History faculty at Washington State University, Tri-Cities, will give a presentation on the history of African-American activism in the Tri-Cities from the 1940s-1970s. The presentation will highlight efforts to end racial segregation in the Tri-Cities, including civil rights marches in Kennewick and Pasco in the 1960s and 1970s. The presentation is based on material from their forthcoming book, Echoes of Exclusion and Resistance: Voices from the Hanford Region, to be published by WSU Press in November. This event will also welcome the following panelists: life coach and radio personality Reka Robinson, Daishaundra Loving-Hearne, co-CEO of the Urban Poets Society and organizer with the Black Lives Matter Coalition: Tri-Cities, and Naima Chambers Smith, CEO of the Tri-Cities Diversity and Inclusion Council. They will talk about the advocacy efforts they are spearheading within our local community around racial justice and how others can be a part of supporting the work.

Digital Dissensus: Discovering Truth in an Era of Misinformation

Mike Caulfield, director of blended and networked learning at WSU Vancouver and nationally recognized digital literacy expert will discuss the roots of our current “digital dissensus” and explain how our approach to education may be making the problem worse. How do we design education for a world where information is plentiful, and attention is the scarcity? How do we encourage analysis and engagement in our students without having those same impulses gamed by bad actors? What epistemic stances and heuristics serve the public in a world where expertise is niche and very little is directly verifiable, and where facts are atomized, separated from analysis, and reassembled in bizarre and dangerous ways?