Community Conversation: Alternatives to the
School-to-Prison Pipeline

5:00 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.

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Join us on February 23 for a lively discussion examining juvenile justice and practices that can better align to meet young people’s developmental needs. As we discuss possible reforms, we will also consider how the arts can play a role in providing youth with appropriate interventions. Join Cara Drinan, Faculty of Law and Director of Research at the Catholic University School of Law, spoken word artist Joseph Green of LMS Voice, who collaborates with Imagination Stage’s programming with incarcerated young people, and Ruschelle Reuben, Associate Superintendent of Student and Family Support and Engagement with Montgomery County Public Schools.


Professor Cara H. Drinan is a nationally recognized expert on the right to counsel, juvenile sentencing and criminal justice reform.


She earned her B.A. in Economics at Bowdoin College, an M.A. in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University, and her J.D. at Stanford Law School. After a brief period in private practice, she joined the law faculty at the Catholic University of America in 2006. Drinan teaches criminal law, criminal procedure, and criminal justice reform, among other courses. She also serves as the law school’s Director of Faculty Research, supporting her colleagues in their research development, publication and promotion.


Drinan’s own writing focuses on access to counsel, sentencing, and youth in the criminal justice system. In 2017, she published her first book on the extremity of juvenile sentencing in America, The War on Kids: How American Juvenile Justice Lost Its Way (Oxford Univ. Press). In her scholarship, Drinan seeks to offer legislative and judicial solutions to thorny criminal law and sentencing issues. She is especially interested in giving voice to those whose lives have been shaped by mass incarceration and combating systemic racism as reflected in the criminal justice system.


Outside of the academy, Professor Drinan is engaged in a number of professional activities. She serves as the Secretary for the American Association of Law Schools Criminal Justice Section; is a member of the American Law Institute; and regularly engages in pro bono work.

Joseph Green is a motivational speaker, educator, trainer, professional storyteller, award-winning spoken word poet, and a person in long-term recovery.


Joseph’s life story and work are featured in media outlets such as Youth Today, UpWorthy, PBS NewsHour, NPR, and many more.  He has recently keynoted or presented at the 2017 American Society of Addiction Medicine, Talks @ Google, the University of Baltimore, 2016/18 California Statewide Conference on Substance Use Disorder, 2017 Utah Fall Substance Abuse Conference, and Wisconsin Voices for Recovery Rally for Recovery.


Joseph’s presentations and workshops are for anybody seeking a reconnection to purpose, motivation, or community. His work reminds us that more important than knowing what we are fighting against is knowing and never forgetting what we are fighting for.


With a background in theatre and performance poetry, Joseph intertwines storytelling and spoken word poetry to inspire his audience to join him on a journey of self-care, self-awareness, self- forgiveness, and paying your blessings forward to make a world a better place for everyone. He believes strongly in stories’ innate ability to connect people to their higher purpose and one another.


Joseph Green’s workshops cover youth development, Creative Mindfulness as burnout prevention, inclusion and diversity strategies, youth prevention and recovery programming, and artistic activism. In his role as Program Manager at the Mentor Foundation USA, Joseph led the effort to revamp the interactive drug prevention youth rally known as “Shattering the Myths.” Joseph has partnered with many programs making a positive change in schools and communities nationwide. He has designed youth empowerment programs and a comprehensive training for adults working in youth development. In Washington DC, he created “The Healing Root DC” – a mental health literacy program for youth leaders. In Maryland, Joseph works with incarcerated youth to highlight their stories and help end mass incarceration.  

Ruschelle Reuben is the Associate Superintendent of Student and Family Support and Engagement in the Office of Teaching, Learning and Schools for Montgomery County Public Schools.  In her role, she oversees student health and wellness, school counseling, restorative justice, psychological services, family support and engagement, international admissions, and pupil personnel and attendance services.  Ms. Reuben’s commitment to education and the support of all students is her life’s work.

Community Conversations sponsored by:

David Hurwitz, Ameriprise