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Sen. Winfield Previews Legislative Session; Poetry and Prison Reform with Dwayne Betts

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Tyler Russell/Connecticut Public
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Cars lined up outside of the Connecticut Governor’s Residence in Hartford on Monday, April 6 in protest of Gov. Lamont’s refusal to release inmates at risk of COVID-19. Protesters remained in their cars honking and waving signs.

Reginald Dwayne Betts started reading poetry when he was in solitary confinement in an adult prison at the age of 17. He began writing poetry soon after. Betts spent nearly nine years in prison for an armed carjacking. His time in prison propelled him to advocate for those who are still behind bars, and those who are reentering society.

Now he’s a published poet and a Yale law school graduate – and he has a lot to say about the criminal justice system

This hour, we also talk with Betts about prison reform, and how he’s working to get more books inside prisons.

And it’s a new year, and a new legislative session. State Senator Gary Winfield joins us to give an update on priorities for 2021.

GUESTS:

  • Gary Winfield – State Senator of 10th district and co-chairman of the judiciary committee
  • Dwayne Betts – lawyer, poet and author of Felon
Catie Talarski is Senior Director of Storytelling and Radio Programming at Connecticut Public.
Dr. Khalilah L. Brown-Dean is an award-winning scholar at Quinnipiac University, author, and host of 'Disrupted' on Connecticut Public.