Lecture highlights flaws in criminal justice system

A lecture titled “Access to Justice: Race, Privilege, Sports & What’s Uncommunicated” was presented at Shippensburg University on Thursday in Dauphin Humanities Center to generate a conversation about the inequalities prevalent in today’s society.

The lecture was the first of a three-part Human Communication lecture series presented by Sharnine Herbert, an SU associate professor of human communication studies, and a member of the Fredrick Douglass Institute (FDI). 

The event began with the introduction of SU alumnus Jeb Keller, who recently began his career as a criminal defense attorney in the Franklin County area. 

Keller began his lecture by saying statistics should be taken with a grain of salt. He said it is best to use your own incite, education and experiences to better analyze a situation. 

Herbert touched on several societal issues in regard to social injustice and inequality, but mainly focused on how the justice system has made it much more difficult for minority groups to fight for justice, stemming from a lack of income due to their ethnicity.

Keller said an average white family makes roughly $55,000 a year, while an average black family makes around $32,000. In the central Pennsylvania area, in order to be represented by a public defender in court, you must make less than $30,630 a year. 

The law that created this requirement leaves black families at a disadvantage because they are slightly over the salary requirement, but not significantly enough to take care of their family and seek private counsel. 

Following the lecture, the students in the audience were encouraged to ask questions regarding racial inequalities, privilege, whether sports have an impact on this conflict and factors that are often left uncommunicated. 

The event ended with the question, “Is the media divisive when discussing race in society today?” 

Keller said it is how you interpret the information given to you, and how will you apply previous knowledge and experiences to that information in order to better understand it. 

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