UAH Office of Diversity hosts HAICI Forum: Let's Continue The Conversation The "Color" of Law: Mass Incarceration and Prison Privatization


The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) Office of Diversity in partnership with the Huntsville Area Inclusive Community Initiative (HAICI) will host a public forum on the campus of The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) in the Charger Union Theater on Thursday, Jan. 28, at 6 p.m.

"Let's Continue The Conversation The "Color" of Law: Mass Incarceration and Prison Privatization," is a forum intended to promote mutual understanding, dignity, respect, and cooperation among all economic, ethnic, racial, religious, and social groups in the Huntsville community. The forum panel consists of community leaders and local law enforcement members.

"In this fourth of a series of community forums on race relations in Huntsville we will examine another aspect of our community not often discussed, the mass incarceration of people of color. There comes a time when reevaluation and reassessment is quintessentially necessary when it is obvious that the results are far from what was intended. As a result of mass incarceration that has disproportionately affected people of color in our country, bills that address this tragedy have been introduced at the state and federal levels to deal with this travesty. Assessing the negative, resulting societal effects is another issue all together," said Delois H. Smith, Vice President of the UAH Office of Diversity.

Special guest speaker for the event will be Latasha L. McCrary ('05 BA Political Science, Sociology), an alumna of UAH, and civil rights attorney, experienced in criminal defense law at the internationally renowned Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in Montgomery. The SPLC is a non-profit legal advocacy organization that investigates hate groups in the United States and abroad, and specializes in civil rights and public interest litigation.

The majority of McCrary's work at the SPLC is focused on mass incarceration. Since arriving at the SPLC nearly three years ago, she has been working on a class action lawsuit against the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADC). "Dunn v. Dunn is a federal class action lawsuit against the ADC. The suit alleges that the Department of Corrections violates the U.S. Constitution by failing to provide Alabama prisoners with constitutionally adequate medical and mental healthcare. It also alleges that the Department of Corrections violates the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide adequate accommodations for prisoners with disabilities. The first phase of the trial is scheduled for June and the second phase is scheduled for later this year in October," McCrary said. The Dunn v. Dunn case text can be found here:

Launched in 2009, HAICI, a program of the National League of Cities, was coordinated for Huntsville's Human Relations Commission and Office of Multicultural Affairs by Rev. Frank Broyles and Rhonda Broyles. The project is launching practical ways to help the city meet the goals set by the 2009 inclusive community resolution approved by the Huntsville City Council. Huntsville is one of 196 cities nationwide and one of five in Alabama to accept the initiative's challenge.


Delois H. Smith
Vice President, UAH Office of Diversity