As we transition into the digital space, we are always looking for ways to present fun, engaging, and unique opportunities for our students to engage with the coming year's topic, Criminal Justice Reform. One of those ways is to bring in guest speakers, something that COVID distancing has actually made easier, since we can draw folks from all over the country via the internet.
Last night, the Washington Urban Debate League sat down with Miami-Dade Judge Steve Leifman of the 11th Circuit in Florida. Judge Leifman has been a leading voice advocating for prison alternatives for those with mental illnesses, and is the subject of the recent documentary, the Definition of Insanity., a project of the Matthew Ornstein Memorial Foundation.
We viewed the documentary and then sat down for an hour of engaging Q and A with the judge, with questions ranging from details about how folks become eligible for the pre-trial diversion programs, how re-training the local police went, to how we can spread this highly effective model across the country.
In addition to local students, we had coaches, league staff, and a few classrooms full of folks from other UDLs across the country, including Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Detroit. The recording of the Q and A (and the documentary) will be available through our learning platform, and eventually on Youtube, for many folks who couldn't join us live but are still keeping up with debate in these unusual times.
Stay tuned for more exciting guests and learning opportunities, Wednesday night from 5-7 PM!