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The School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the annual John P. Frank Memorial Lecture with Emily Bazelon as a featured guest on Jan. 28 on ASU’s Tempe campus.
Bazelon, a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine, is the author of two national bestsellers: "Sticks and Stones," a book about bullying, and "Charged," which examines the issue of mass incarceration in the United States.
Before joining the New York Times Magazine, Bazelon served as a writer and editor at Slate, for which she continues to co-host the popular weekly podcast Political Gabfest. She also appeared frequently on The Colbert Report on Comedy Central to discuss the Supreme Court and social issues. Bazelon’s work has also appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Vogue and other outlets. She is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School.
"The School of Social Transformation is thrilled to have the opportunity to host such a significant scholar-activist for the 20th anniversary of the John P. Frank Memorial Lecture, the signature event for our school. Bazelon’s tremendous body of work has made a critical impact in the field of justice studies, and we feel truly fortunate for the opportunity to have her here with us," said Pardis Mahdavi, director of the School of Social Transformation.
Presented by the Justice and Social Inquiry program, the John P. Frank Memorial Lecture series honors the memory of lawyer John P. Frank (1917–2002), recognized as part of the team that argued the landmark case Miranda v. Arizona before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1966. The case established the Miranda warning that requires police to inform suspects of their right to legal counsel. Frank also wrote or delivered arguments for numerous First Amendment and desegregation cases, including important contributions to the historical brief for Brown v. Board of Education. A lawyer, constitutional scholar, historian, author and generous mentor, Frank was influential in shaping public policy in Arizona and the nation.
Bazelon joins a distinguished list of guest speakers who have participated in the School of Social Transformation’s signature lecture series over the past two decades — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Robert Reich among them. Bazelon will draw on her research on prosecution reform to discuss the issue of mass incarceration across the U.S.
Bazelon's talk on mass incarceration comes at a critical moment in Arizona's history. According to Arizona Town Hall (2018), incarceration rates have increased exponentially even with declining crime rates. Arizona has the fourth highest incarceration rate in the country at 585 per 100,000 population.
“Our state ranks fourth highest in U.S. incarceration rates and fourth worst in investment in public education," said Madelaine Adelman, professor of justice and social inquiry in the School of Social Transformation. "The relationship between these two data points is summed up in the phrase ‘school-to-prison pipeline.’ STPP describes how students — and disproportionately African American, American Indian and Latino students, students with disabilities, and LGBTQ students — are pushed out of school and into the justice system via discriminatory policies and practices.
“Bazelon's lecture focuses our attention on the dire need to flip these incarceration and education data points through the pursuit of various pathways to justice. Justice and social inquiry faculty are partners in this pursuit, because we examine the histories, processes and outcomes of criminalization — including health disparities, wealth inequality and human rights violations — and also explore possible solutions, such as sentencing reform, prison abolition, restorative justice and education funding.”
The lecture featuring Bazelon is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 28 in the Evelyn Smith Music Theatre on ASU’s Tempe campus. This event is free of charge and open to the public.