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This event is co-sponsored with the Center for Poetry, College of Law, College of Arts and Letters, Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, College of Education, James Madison College, and Lyman Briggs College.
A widely requested speaker, Betts often gives talks about his own experience, detailing his trek from incarceration to Yale Law School and the role that grit, perseverance, and literature played in his success. Also, he has given lectures on topics ranging from mass incarceration to contemporary poetry and the intersection of literature and advocacy. Between his work in public defense, his years of advocacy, and Betts’s own experiences as a teenager in maximum security prisons uniquely position him to speak to the failures of the current criminal justice system and present encouraging ideas for change. That work has led Betts to be appointed by President Barack Obama to appoint him to the Coordinating Council of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and more recently for Governor Ned Lamont of Connecticut to appoint him to the Criminal Justice Commission, the state body responsible for hiring prosecutors in Connecticut. His recently released book of poetry, Felon, which is a collection of poems he wrote in reflection of life after prison. Reginald Dwayne Betts transformed is a critically acclaimed writer and graduate of the Yale Law School.