Michael Meltsner, pioneering civil rights lawyer and Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Law at Northeastern University School of Law, delivered the 13th annual Alfange Lecture at UMass Amherst on September 28, 2017. A copy of his lecture, entitled “Degradation Ceremonies: Constitutional and Statutory Limits of the Punishment After Punishment,” may be found here. Meltsner’s scholarly and passionate lecture combined legal scholarship with activism and his own professional achievements as a civil rights lawyer whose life has been devoted to fighting racism and inequality. His recent autobiography, With Passion: An Activist Lawyer’s Life, tells that story.
In an era of mass incarceration, hundreds of thousands, disproportionately minority, are released from prison every year. They face staggering numbers of adverse legal consequences flowing from a criminal record, disabilities created by a punitive society that amount to a form of ostracism and loss of full citizenship. Efforts to end discrimination and reduce recidivism are common. Michael Meltsner offered a trenchant analysis of the barriers to reform and the ways in which they may be overcome.
More on Michael Meltsner, the making of a civil rights lawyer, at michaelmeltsner.com