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Leveraging Research to Transform America’s Prisons

Join the Urban Institute for a conversation about how the prison reform community can leverage research to spur innovation and make prisons more humane, safe, and rehabilitative environments. This event will bring together thought leaders from the advocacy, research, and practitioner communities to discuss strategies that promote the well-being of people who live and work behind bars. The event will be anchored by research currently underway in the Prison Research and Innovation Initiative, led by Urban and featuring research and corrections partners in five states.



Opening remarks

  • Sarah Rosen Wartell, President, Urban Institute
  • Jocelyn Fontaine, Vice President of Criminal Justice Research, Arnold Ventures
  • Preeti Chauhan, Vice President of Justice Policy, Urban Institute


Keynote conversation

  • Vivian Nixon, Writer in Residence, Square One Project
  • Amy Fettig, Executive Director, The Sentencing Project (moderator)


The Prison Research and Innovation Initiative: An Evidence-Based Approach to Prison Reform

  • David Pitts, Senior Research Fellow, Urban Institute




Using Research to Promote the Humanity and Well-Being of Incarcerated People

  • Darryl Chambers, Research Associate and Coinvestigator, University of Delaware
  • David Garlock, Pennsylvania State Organizer, Straight Ahead
  • Jesse Jannetta, Senior Policy Fellow, Urban Institute
  • Mindi TenNapel, Executive Officer II, Iowa Department of Human Rights
  • Ronald F. Day, Vice President of Programs, Fortune Society (moderator)




Understanding the Unique Needs of the Correctional Workforce

  • Alan Cormier, Chief of Operations, Vermont Department of Corrections
  • Jeffrey L. Lin, Associate Professor, University of Denver
  • Dana Plunkett-Cafourek, Prison Research Innovation Network Manager, Missouri Department of Corrections
  • Scott Semple, former Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Correction
  • Rick Raemisch, former Executive Director, Colorado Department of Corrections (moderator)


Closing remarks

  • Nancy Rodriguez, Professor, University of California, Irvine






Support for this event is provided by Arnold Ventures. For more information on the Urban Institute’s funding principles, go to

We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to engage fully. Please email [email protected] if you require any accommodations or have any questions about this event.

Date & Time Tuesday, April 5, 2022

  • President
  • Vice President, Strategic Program Development
  • Vice President, Research and Policy
    Former Vice President, Justice Policy Center
  • Vice President, Justice Policy
  • Senior Policy Fellow
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