Dwight Hall at Yale

Center for Public Service and Social Justice

Breaking Good: The Role of Forgiveness and Atonement in Reducing the Number of Incarcerated Women in Connecticut

Event time: 
Tuesday, April 4, 2017 - 5:00pm to 7:30pm
Southern CT State University, ENG B121A/B See map
Event description: 

Save The Date!

Breaking Good: The Role of Forgiveness and Atonement in Reducing the Number of Incarcerated Women in Connecticut

A colloquium sponsored by Southern Connecticut State University’s Faculty Development Office, the Department of Social Work and the Women’s Studies Program

Date: Time: Location:


Tuesday, April 4, 2017
5:00 pm – 7:30 pm (Refreshments provided) Southern CT State University, ENG B121A/B

This colloquium engages our community, including women with felony convictions who received clemency or had their sentence commuted, in a discussion about the meanings and practical implications of forgiveness and atonement in the modern carceral state.


  1. Raise awareness about female incarceration in the United States, including socio-

    demographic trends and the strengths and vulnerabilities of incarcerated women.

  2. Promote a dialogue about forgiveness and atonement that explores the articulation

    and application of these concepts to learning, teaching, creativity activity, social justice, and community engagement.


There are over 15,000 people incarcerated in Connecticut, including nearly 1,000 women, circumstances that impact how we work, create, and live.

  • ●  Colleagues, neighbors, and friends may be coping with the consequences of their own incarceration and/or the incarceration of a family member or friend.

  • ●  The enormous amount of money spent by the State of CT on criminal justice systems diverts resources from other state services, including higher education.

  • ●  Efforts to promote social justice through educational, health, and socio-political interventions are undermined by the collateral consequences of incarceration.

    For these reasons, discussion about corrections and reducing the state’s prison population, are relevant to all of our lives. While sentencing reform has begun to reduce the number of people imprisoned in CT for non-violent drug offenses, significant reduction in prison populations will require a renegotiation of long sentences related to serious felony crimes. This colloquium will explore how this renegotiation may be realized by expanding understanding of and discussions about forgiveness and atonement.

Colloquium Agenda

5:00 – 5:15 Welcome: Dr. Lin
The colloquium will be moderated by Dr. Lin. She will begin by welcoming the speakers and guests and introducing panelists.

5:15 – 5:45 Introduction: Dr. Smoyer
The colloquium will begin with an interactive overview and discussion about female incarceration in the US, facilitated by Dr. Smoyer. In the course of this discussion, the concepts of forgiveness and atonement, and their relevance to public policy will be introduced.

5:45 – 6:45 Panel Discussion
This panel will include three speakers:

  1. Amy Povah: Ms. Povah is the Founder and Executive Director of “CAN-DO: Justice through Clemency” a non-profit organization based in California that advocates for the release of women incarcerated in the federal system. She was incarcerated for 9 years and 3 months in US federal prison, until she was granted clemency in 2000. She will discuss the role of forgiveness and atonement in clemency petitions.

  2. Barbara Fair, LCSW, My Brother’s Keeper: Barbara is a West Haven activist working to halt the caging of American citizens. She will reflect on the concept of forgiveness from a macro/social level as communities struggle to recover from and survive the US government’s 46 year-old War on Drugs.
  3. Panna Krom:

6:45 – 7:30 Discussion and Fellowship

  • ●  Small group discussions

  • ●  Full group discussion: Report from groups and steps forward moderated by Dr. Lin

    For more information, please contact the event organizers:

  • Amy B. Smoyer, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work o SmoyerA1@southernct.edu
    o (203) 508-5356

  • Yi-Chun Tricia Lin, PhD, Director and Professor, Women Studies Program o LinY4@southernct.edu

    o (203) 392-6864

Event Type: 
Prison Reform & Reentry
Open To: 
Graduate Students
Community Members
Additional Info: 
PDF icon breaking_good_scsu_040417.pdf60.62 KB