December 11, 2017
Colleen Clark-Bernhardt, 608.266.3022
County Board

Dane County Criminal Justice Council event is Thursday, Dec. 14


As part of its ongoing effort to confront racial inequity, the Dane County Criminal Justice Council is joining with nationally-acclaimed experts for a discussion of implicit bias and racial anxiety on Thursday, Dec. 14.


The “Community Conversation on Race and Criminal Justice” is free and open to the public from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Fountain of Life Church at 633 W. Badger Road just off the Beltline Highway. Community participation is considered a key part of the evening, with residents encouraged to share their own experiences.  The Dane County Board of Supervisors is hosting the event and food will be provided.


Members of the Washington, D.C.-based Perception Institute, including Rachel Godsil and William Snowden, will lead the workshop and perform scenarios with attendees based on their groundbreaking research.  Madison Police Department’s “Community Outreach and Resource Education” team will also be a part of the conversation.


The Perception Institute is a consortium of researchers, advocates and strategists that uses cutting-edge “mind science” to help organizations reduce discrimination linked to race, gender and other identity differences. Mind science is the study of human consciousness used for the betterment of civilization. 


“We’re thankful to the Perception Institute for helping us confront some of the racial disparities in our criminal justice system,” said Dane County Board Supervisor Sheila Stubbs. “This is one of the most important ways government can improve the lives of our citizens.”


The Institute works specifically in areas where bias has the most power to create harm: schools, workplaces, hospitals, justice system and media. It conducts research and then translates those finding into interventions and workshops to develop strategies to bridge differences and disrupt stereotypes.


The Perception Institute will host an additional training specifically designed for law enforcement, social workers and corrections officials. That training will include a panel of Dane County youth who have been involved with the criminal justice system. This continues a county wide initiative to increase justice and equity for all.


“Implicit bias is something that everyone has,” said Stubbs. “If we can recognize that and figure out ways to address this anxiety, this may reduce its effects on decision-making.”