Friday Feb 26, 7-9pm
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This month we’re continuing our series on criminal justice reform with Tribal Justice, which highlights an underreported but effective criminal justice reform movement in America: the efforts of tribal courts to create alternative systems of justice.
NOTE: We apologize for the audio issues some attendees experienced at last month’s film.
We plan to do more testing this time to identify any problems in advance!
More than 300 tribal courts are spread across this country. In California, two formidable women lead the way. Abby Abinanti, Chief Judge of the Yurok Tribe on the north coast, and Claudette White, Chief Judge of the Quechan Tribe in the southern desert, are creating innovative systems that focus on restoring rather than punishing offenders. Their efforts are helping keep tribal members out of prison, preventing children from being taken from their communities, and stopping the school-to-prison pipeline that plagues their young people.
Abby is a fierce, lean, white-haired elder who has dedicated her life to humane justice. Claudette represents a new generation of Native American lawyers who are revisioning justice. The film introduces Abby and Claudette, then then follows several cases both in and out of their courts. Taos Proctor is facing a third strike conviction when we meet him in Abby’s court in 2013. While on parole from San Quentin, he was arrested with methamphetamine, a third felony. We follow Taos, a boisterous bear of a man, over two years as Abby and her staff help him complete court programs and rebuild his life.
A thousand miles south, Claudette invokes the Indian Child Welfare Act to reunite a nine-year-old boy with his family. Meanwhile her teenage nephew, Isaac, faces two felony charges for breaking into cars. Because his case is in state court rather than tribal court, he becomes a classic case of the school-to-prison pipeline.
This film will help you understand tribal courts and their role in the survival of Indian people. The filmmakers also hope it will inspire those working in the mainstream legal field to consider new ways of implementing problem-solving and restorative justice, reducing incarceration rates and enabling offenders to make reparations and rebuild their lives. See the trailer…