Professor Voices Need for Criminal Justice Reform in America
WMU-Cooley Law School Professor Stevie Swanson, served as a panelist at the Tampa Chapter American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Annual Meeting at the Seminole Heights Library on April 2. The topic of the panel discussion was the need for criminal justice reform in America.
Swanson spoke about the direct filing of juveniles in the adult criminal justice system and the disproportionate impact the direct file system has on minorities.
“Children who are tried as adults face many challenges, not only while going through the criminal justice system, but when they are released from adult prisons,” said Swanson.
Swanson also discussed the need for decriminalization of victims of human trafficking who are arrested for prostitution. She explained how the expunction statute works in Florida and that she advocates for more flexibility in certification of human trafficking victims.
Other panelists included Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida; Mike Peacock, misdemeanor bureau chief at the Public Defender of Hillsborough County; and Adam Tebrugge, staff attorney for the ACLU of Florida.
The ACLU defends and preserves the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. The Greater Tampa ACLU is extensively involved in issues related to the School-to-Prison Pipeline and Juvenile Justice, privacy, surveillance cameras, freedom of expression and church-state issues.
About Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School: Western Michigan University and Thomas M. Cooley Law School affiliated in 2014, combining the status of a nationally-ranked, public, comprehensive research university with the commitment to practical legal education of an independent, non-profit, national law school. WMU-Cooley is accredited by both the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. The law school has provided nearly 20,000 graduates with the practical skills necessary for a seamless transition from academia to the real world, and enrolls classes in January, May, and September at its Lansing, Auburn Hills, and Grand Rapids, Michigan campuses, and its Tampa Bay, Florida campus. WMU and the law school continue to operate as independent institutions with their own governance structure and separate fiduciary responsibilities.