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PACEs in the Criminal Justice System

Discussion and sharing of resources in working with clients involved in the criminal justice system and how screening for and treating ACEs will lead to successful re-entry of prisoners into the community and reduced recidivism for former offenders.

John Legend wants to transform the criminal justice system, one DA at a time (


John Legend is an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award-winning entertainer, who recently kicked off a Las Vegas residency and just released a new single. But he's also a well-known activist and advocate for criminal justice reform and voting rights who has supported a number of Democratic candidates over the years.

He's also throwing his support behind a number of progressive prosecutors who are running on a promise to reform a criminal justice system that they say is outdated and that disproportionately punishes and over incarcerates people of color.

Legend, who has a mammoth following on Twitter, recently shined a spotlight on district attorney races in Tennessee, North Carolina, Oregon and California – arguing that these elections are "crucial to improving our criminal legal system."

When I looked online and saw the candidates that you were tweeting about, they're often women or people of color – and we should just be frank here that historically, prosecutors, district attorneys, they have largely been white men. What benefit do you see to expanding the types of people who are in these jobs?

Look at someone like Kim Fox, who we've supported twice and she's been reelected in Cook County, which is Chicago. She knows her community so well. She's a Black woman and she has seen all sides of our criminal legal system. She's a lawyer. She's a prosecutor, but she also knows family members and community members that have been on the other side of things who have been locked up. She knows folks who have been survivors and victims of crime, and she knows what it's like to grow up in some of our most challenged communities. Someone with that perspective, someone who has an intimate knowledge of the community that she's serving and that she comes from, they're coming to it with an experience and a level of empathy that I think is really helpful.

When you approach the job of being a prosecutor more holistically and more progressively, it means you're thinking about the effects of all of this. You're not just trying to lock more people up for more time. You're thinking about the families that those folks leave behind and the negative cycle that that continues when you have one or two of your parents locked up and what effect that will have on the kid and whether or not they'll be more likely to commit crime in the future because they've lost a parent to incarceration.

So you're thinking about more of those things. You have a level of empathy and understanding that is greater and more connected to the community. And I think it enables you to make better decisions that will be holistically more beneficial for the community.

To read more of Barrie Hardymon, Juana Summers, and Lexie Schapitl's article, please click here.

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