A near capacity crowd of faculty, staff, students and community members filled a room in Kane Hall to hear Associate Professor of Sociology Alexes Harris present the UW Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity’s eighth annual Samuel E. Kelly Distinguished Faculty Lecture on April 19.
Dr. Harris’ lecture titled “The U.S. Criminal Justice System: Race, Poverty and Permanent Punishments” examined the use of monetary sanctions or legal financial obligations as criminal sentences in the United States, and specifically in Washington state. She is currently developing a book manuscript on the topic.
Dr. Sheila Edwards Lange, Vice President for Minority Affairs and Vice Provost for Diversity, provided opening remarks, along with Dr. Jerald Herting, research professor and chair of the Department of Sociology.
Dr. Harris has compiled data from the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Washington State Sentencing Guidelines Commission; 90 interviews with felony defendants, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, clerks and state legislators; and over 100 observations of sentencing and violation hearings in five Washington state counties. Her analysis outlined the different ways counties conduct assessments and collections of felony defendants, and the variety of consequences.
Prior to the lecture in Kane Hall, attendees enjoyed a reception with Dr. Harris in the Odegaard Undergraduate Library. The event was held in conjunction with HuskyFest, the UW’s three-day spring celebration of its 150th anniversary held April 19-21.
Inaugurated in 2005, this annual lecture is named in honor of the late Dr. Samuel E. Kelly, the first vice president for the UW Office of Minority Affairs. The series is dedicated to acknowledging the work of distinguished faculty research focusing on diversity and social justice.
View a photo gallery from the event.
Photos by Ian Gonzales