Operation Reform Summit seeks bipartisan approach to criminal justice reform

A bipartisan summit on criminal justice reform is expected to draw local and national thought leaders to Jacksonville this month.

Operation Reform, sponsored by #Cut50, the Ford Foundation and Operation New Hope, will focus on re-entry solutions for people leaving incarceration, and reducing recidivism through employment.

This was a major focus of the Jacksonville Journey, a crime prevention initiative first launched by former Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton when Duval County was becoming known far and wide as Florida’s murder capital.

New Mayor Lenny Curry has pledged a robust refunding of Journey programs.

Beyond the 904, the issue of mass incarceration has taken center stage in the 2016 presidential campaign. Later this month thousands will be released from U.S. federal prisons because of long-awaited sentencing and overcrowding. This will be one of the largest releases in American history.

The summit will look at re-entry solutions as a way to address mass incarceration, and will focus on building bipartisan consensus.

That will be necessary, considering the participants and speakers. A partial list includes progressive activist Van Jones, co-founder of #Cut50; Ewan Watt of the Charles Koch Institute; Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum; Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry; Adam Tebrugge of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida; not to mention formerly incarcerated people; and others.

With a national conversation also occurring around the “Ban the Box” movement, this event is timely and significant.

See full list of speakers here: http://www.operationreform.com/#speakers

Melissa Ross

In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at [email protected]



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