SWO Women’s Wisdom: Jessica Sloan
SWO Women’s Wisdom: Women in Action Presentation
Jessica Jackson Sloan, Human Rights Attorney
The Sufi Women’s Organization hosted a successful and well-attended breakfast on September 17, 2016 in San Rafael, California with human rights attorney, co-founder of #Cut50, and Vice Mayor of Mill Valley, Jessica Jackson Sloan. Jessica gave a very informative and thought provoking talk about her efforts to cut the U.S. prison population in half.
To start off the event, members of the SWO Program Committee welcomed the audience to the breakfast and spoke about the ongoing global and local humanitarian works of SWO and its founder, Dr. Nahid Angha. The attendees then enjoyed breakfast and conversation with one another. Before she spoke, the audience’s interest in Jessica’s amazing, incredible journey about how she became a human rights activist was piqued by a thoughtful introduction by a member of SWO.
Jessica began her presentation with an eye-opening account of how in 2004 she had just given birth to her daughter when her husband was sent to prison. It ripped apart her family both emotionally and financially. It all happened for a non-violent drug related crime. Her husband was sentenced to six years in prison and Jessica was unable to have any contact with him for the first six weeks of his incarceration. With nowhere to turn, Jessica became determined to find solutions to the injustices she endured. She decided to further her education and become a criminal defense attorney.
Fresh out of law school several years later, Jessica took her first job representing death row inmates in California. She continued to learn how our prison system actually encourages crime by dehumanizing inmates, rather than providing new skill opportunities and the tools needed to integrate back into society.
Frustrated by what she was discovering as she tried to support her clients, Jessica co-founded #Cut50, an initiative of the Dream Corps, with political bi-partisan support; the organization is dedicated to cut the prison population in half in the next ten years. #Cut50 believes that it is possible to reform our criminal justice system and utilize smarter, cheaper and more efficient ways of dealing with crime. One of the accomplishments of #Cut 50 that Jessica is especially proud of is hosting the first Bipartisan Summit on Criminal Justice Reform which was more successful than anticipated, and drew participation from the White House, several members of Congress, three governors, and over 600 advocates, as well as formerly incarcerated people. The event resulted in some unlikely bi-partisan partnership and several criminal justice bills introduced into Congress. Jessica shared that #Cut50 believes it is important to seize the opportunity to tear down walls of injustice to build new hope for millions of people around the country.
Following her inspirational presentation, Jessica answered questions from the audience and spoke with attendees.
Thank you Jessica!
We look forward to our next SWO breakfast presentation on March 11, 2017.
The Original Announcement:
Jessica Jackson Sloan, Vice-Major of Mill Valley, Human Rights Attorney, and National Director and Co-Founder of #cut50, a bipartisan effort to reduce the U.S. prison population.
Years ago, Jessica Jackson Sloan’s life and family were significantly affected when her first husband was sent to prison for a non-violent, drug-related offense. Due to his incarceration she became a criminal defense attorney, dedicating her life to ending the death penalty and advocating for human rights. Jessica is now the National Director and Co-Founder of #cut50, a bipartisan effort to cut the U.S. prison population in half. She also currently serves as Mill Valley’s Vice-Mayor and is one of the youngest elected officials in Marin County history. At the breakfast, Jessica will share her experience and ideas on how we can all be helpful in this effort.
Thanks to everyone who joined us for this wonderful event; a report will be posted soon.
Saturday, September 17, 2016, 9:30-11:30am
The Club at McInnis Park
350 Smith Ranch Rd., San Rafael, CA 94903