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Part four of Criminal Justice Series takes place Aug. 11

prison-cell-600If drugs continue to flood into our neighborhoods, and if those who succumb to the lure of drugs are caught in an endless cycle of dependence and bouts of incarceration, what’s to become of our towns? If offenders are committed to a fresh start, how easy is it for them to successfully reenter society?

The Riley Institute and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Furman will examine these issues in the fourth and final installment of the series, “Crime and Punishment: Thinking Outside the Cell,” which takes place Tuesday, Aug. 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m., in Younts Conference Center on the Furman University campus. Cost is $15 for the session.

Part four of the series, “Building Communities of Justice” features two sessions. First, “Changing Lives Through Intervention” is led by U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles who will present the challenges and successes of the Drug Market Intervention program, an initiative highlighted on NBC’s “Dateline,” and one which Nettles has implemented in Conway, Aiken, North Charleston, and Columbia.

The next session, “Second Chances: Breaking Down Barriers to Reentry,” will feature a personal story told by Jerry Blassingame, CEO, Soteria Community Development Corporation, who served just over three years of a 20-year sentence for a drug conviction, and includes a brief look at the research by Laura Bogardus, Ph.D. candidate at Clemson University.

Mark Quinn, former host of SCETV’s “Big Picture,” will moderate a discussion with Blassingame; Amy Barch, founder, Turning Leaf Project in Charleston; Bruce Forbes, special projects manager, Sunbelt Human Advancement Resources; and Kirby Mitchell, senior litigation attorney, South Carolina Legal Services.

Michele Sedney, senior director, Central Recruitment Services, The Johns Hopkins Health System Corporation, will offer the closing address with the compelling story of Johns Hopkins’ success in providing work opportunities for reentering citizens.

A detailed schedule of events with speaker bios and registration information is available at the Riley Institute website, For more information about the series, contact OLLI at (864) 294-2998.

Last updated August 6, 2015
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Clinton Colmenares
News & Media Relations Director