Dr. Michael Leo Owens to speak on effects of U.S. prison system at UNT Feb. 9

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - 20:19

What: Michael Leo Owens presents "The Civic Consequences of 'The New Jim Crow' for Black America" as part of Black History Month at the University of North Texas. The event is jointly sponsored by the Department of History and the Department of Political Science.

When: 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. Feb. 9 (Monday)

Where: Room 105 of UNT's General Academic Building, 225 S. Avenue B, Denton

Cost: Free

More information: Contact Danielle Longueville at historyevents@unt.edu

DENTON (UNT), Texas – The numbers are staggering. More than 2.2 million people are incarcerated in the United States, giving it the largest prison population in the world. About half of them are in jail for drug crimes. Two-thirds of all persons in prison for drug offenses are people of color.

Michael Leo Owens, associate professor at Emory University in Atlanta, will focus on these issues in his lecture, titled "The Civic Consequences of 'The New Jim Crow' for Black America," at the University of North Texas for Black History Month in February.

The lecture will take place at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 9 (Monday) in Room 105 of UNT's General Academic Building, 225 S. Avenue B. A question-and-answer session will follow the lecture, and the UNT Bookstore will sell copies of Owens' work.

Todd Moye, associate professor of history at UNT, said that the Department of History wanted to find a scholar who could speak about a topic that has both currency and deep historical roots.

"Because of the Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases – among many others, sadly – current events have Americans thinking about racial inequalities in the criminal justice system," Moye said. "And, of course, the historical roots of this problem run very deep."

Owens "will talk about the policies that have resulted in the mass incarceration of African Americans and the consequences that these policies have for American society," said Moye. Anyone "interested in issues of racial inequality, civil rights, and the history of incarceration in the U.S. will find Owen's talk engaging and informative, I'm sure," he added.

Owens specializes in a variety of fields, including urban politics, religion and political penology. He is the author of "God and Government in the Ghetto: The Politics of Church-State Collaboration in Black America," (2007) which describes how African-American churches have been able to influence public policy and the effects of this influence on their communities. His current book project is "Prisoners of Democracy," a study of the politics, policies and attitudes that diminish the citizenship of felons in the United States.

In addition to being an associate professor at Emory University, Owens is an associate of Emory's Office of University-Community Partnerships and Center for the Study of Law and Religion. He also serves on the boards of the National Housing Institute, Urban Affairs Association, APSA Urban Politics Section and Urban Affairs Review.

UNT News Service
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