National Experts on Latinos & Criminal Justice Reform will Convene in Orlando


Contact: John Garcia, Director of Communications, 212-739-7513, 917-673-9095 or

More than 30 scholars, reformers, activist, lawyers and policy analysts will gather in Orlando on April 18-19 to discuss issues around Latinos and the criminal justice system. The free, open-to-the-public convening will cover topics such as the death penalty, felon disenfranchisement, bail reform, drug policy, and ICE raids and detainers.

This is the third such convening around Latinos and criminal justice issues organized by LatinoJustice PRLDEF, a national civil and human rights organization with offices in New York and Florida. The broadly focused convening will include speakers and participants talking about the topics on a policy and litigation level, from a grassroots perspective, sharing best practices and recounting lots of personal experiences. The convening, called Latinos and the Criminal Justice System, will start at 3 p.m. on April 18 and end at 5 p.m. on April 19. It will be held at Hispanic Federation’s Proyecto Somos Orlando office at 6900 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando.

“There is a preponderance of evidence that the criminal justice system adversely and disproportionally affects Latinos, especially in today’s politically charged environment,” said Juan Cartagena, LatinoJustice President and General Counsel. “With this convening we hope to inform, engage and energize a cadre of activists and supporters to not only consider the information these experts will present, but to also take leadership roles in fixing a broken criminal justice system. This is a critical issue in these time and Latinos must stand at the front of the discussion and help find solutions.”

The experts speaking include professors, lawyers and activists, but also many victims of the failed criminal justice system. Formally incarcerated members of society are scheduled to talk about their personal experiences in the criminal justice system. The attendees and speakers will come from Florida, New York, California, Arizona, Texas, Washington, DC and New Jersey.

“Florida’s criminal justice system is clearly in need of reform, and events like this can help shed light on this important topic and illuminate potential solutions,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “We hope that participants will leave the convening with the knowledge and energy to take actions to improve the criminal justice system for all Floridians, including the Latino community.”

“Our state needs strong leadership to confront the systemic challenges facing criminal justice reform,” said Kira Romero-Craft, LatinoJustice Associate Attorney based in Orlando. “LatinoJustice provides the voice of our people on a statewide and national level to lead the charge for real criminal justice reform.”

Desmond Meade, President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, said: “Mass incarceration, whether it is through immigration detention or the criminal justice system, disproportionately impacts all persons of color. The growing prison population among Latina women is one of several indicators that Criminal Justice reform is not just a necessity for the African American community.” The conference is co-sponsored by Mijente; The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; and Hispanic Federation.

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