CWU News

ACLU Director to Speak on Mass Incarceration

“The new incarceration figures confirm the United States as the world’s leading jailer,” said David Fathi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union National Prison Project. “Americans should ask why the United States locks up so many more people than Canada, Britain, and other democracies.”

Fathi will address that question at 7:30 p.m. on October 26, in the Music Building Recital Hall. Prior to his presentation, “Mass Incarceration, Race and Human Rights,” there will be a reception at 6:00 p.m. in the Museum of Culture and Environment, Dean Hall lobby. The Brooks Library will also host a book information display in the library related to the presentation.

The American Civil Liberties Union National Prison Project challenges the conditions of confinement in prisons, jails, and other detention facilities, and works to end the policies that have given the United States the highest incarceration rate in the world. Fathi worked as a staff lawyer at the Project for more than ten years before becoming director in 2010, and has special expertise in challenging “supermax” prisons, where prisoners are held for months or years at a time in conditions of near-total isolation.

From 2007 to 2010 Fathi was director of the US Program at Human Rights Watch.  The US Program works to defend the rights of particularly vulnerable groups in the United States, and has published groundbreaking reports on the death penalty, prison conditions, racial discrimination, the rights of immigrants, and many other human rights issues.

Fathi has lectured nationally and internationally on criminal justice issues.  His op-eds have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Houston Chronicle, and other major media outlets.  He is a graduate of the University of Washington and the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. He lives in Washington, DC.

Fathi’s presentation is part of CWU’s year-long focus on Mass Incarceration and Human Rights: Black and Brown Lives Do Matter. Faculty and staff across the university have initiated a community-wide dialogue to encourage students, faculty, staff, and the general public to address the vast array of issues that these staggering numbers represent. The year’s initiative is the inaugural program for the new Social Justice and Human Rights series, which will annually develop a new theme for the campus to explore.

Fathi’s presentation is sponsored by the Center for Diversity and Social Justice.

Media Contact: Center for Diversity and Social Justice (CDSJ) at 509-963-2127 or