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TED Talk Tuesday: "The Human Stories Behind Mass Incarceration" by Eve Abrams

I’ve been working in the justice system for a long time, but it will still take my breath. I’ll walk into a courtroom struck by the fact that there are a disproportionate amount of people of color.
— Eve Abrams

In this TED talk, Eve Abrams talks about mass incarceration and discusses her research about convictions in the United States of innocent people based on faulty eyewitness testimony and without forensic evidence. Mrs. Abrams biggest piece of advice is to not just assume that your criminal justice system is working, but to take on the responsibility to question and challenge those assumptions for a just society.

Recently, Wayne Powell has been involved in a case that included partnering with the Innocence Project at the University of Virginia School of Law. This client was convicted and sentenced to 40 years over a crime with no forensic evidence, no testimony from witnesses, and was referred the representation of a fraudulent attorney. Cases like these are why Wayne Powell is a dedicated member of the legal community, striving to represent justice in his community and in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Powerful Abrams Quotes:

“Estimates of how many innocent people are locked up range between one and four percent, which maybe doesn't sound like a lot, except that it amounts to around 87,000 people. That's not even counting the roughly half a million people who have been convicted of nothing -- those presumed innocent, but who are too poor to bail out of jail and therefore sit behind bars for weeks upon months, waiting for their case to come to trial -- or much more likely, waiting to take a plea just to get out.”

“We elect the district attorneys, the judges and the legislators who operate these systems for we the people. As a society, we are more willing to risk locking up innocent people than we are to let guilty people go free. We elect politicians who fear being labeled "soft on crime," encouraging them to pass harsh legislation and allocate enormous resources toward locking people up.”


Thanks for checking out our latest TED Talk Tuesday, a series of posts where Wayne Powell from the Powell Law Group in Virginia shares his favorite TED talks about the justice system, crime in America, democracy, the rule of law, and mass incarceration. TED is a nonprofit devoted to welcoming highly-trained professionals, educators, authors, researchers, and creative thinkers from every discipline and culture to spread innovative ideas to national and international conferences and lesson series.