July 11: Prison Reform Roundtable – Livestream only

July 11: Prison Reform Roundtable – Livestream only

Date: July 11, 2017
Time: Livestream-only event starts at 7 p.m.
Cost: There is no cost to view this livestream video.

Prison reform is one of the most pressing issues facing our state today. In this special livestreamed-only roundtable, we’ll bring together some of our state’s foremost experts on criminal justice and the prison system to discuss different perspectives and approaches to prison reform in Nevada.

During the roundtable, our panelists will take a look at several critical issues facing Nevada prisons:

  • Compare Nevada to the rest of the nation in prison overcrowding and recidivism rates.
  • Examine the reasons for recidivism and overcrowding.
  • Discuss the effectiveness of our state’s prison practices and programs.
  • Discuss the best methods to reduce recidivism and reduce the prison population, including education and job placement.
  • Seek consensus on agreed upon prison reform initiatives.

Following the event, the roundtable will be available for viewing on The Mob Museum website.

Panelists include Jim Dzurenda, director of the Nevada Department of Corrections; Phil Kohn, chief public defender; Jon Ponder with Hope for Prisoners; Tod Story with the American Civil Liberties Union; and District Attorney Steve Wolfson. Judge Carolyn Ellsworth will moderate the panel. 

James Dzurenda, director of the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) since April 2016, began his career in 1987 as an officer in a local jail in Connecticut. He worked his way through the ranks where he served as a jail lieutenant and then in the community on statewide Gang Task Force in Collaboration with Connecticut State Police, FBI, DEA, ATF, State’s Attorney Police Inspectors, and several local law enforcement agencies. See below for more details.


Phil Kohn was appointed Clark County Public Defender on April 6, 2004.  Kohn obtained his law degree from McGeorge Law School. He has served on the Southern Nevada Criminal Justice Task Force and the Fondi Commission. He is also a member of the Nevada Supreme Court Task Force on Indigent Defense and is a graduate of the Leadership Las Vegas Class of 2000. See below for more details.


Jon D. Ponder is the founder and CEO of HOPE for Prisoners, Incorporated. As CEO, Ponder is responsible for overseeing a comprehensive array of program components designed to assist individuals within the judicial system to successfully reintegrate into mainstream society. He is responsible for developing and implementing strategic planning for the organization and is extremely passionate about the value of mentoring for persons coming out of correctional settings. See below for more details.


 Tod Story joined the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada in 2013. From 1999 to January 2013, he was the district director for U.S. Representative Shelley Berkley, where he oversaw community outreach, constituent services and digital communications and previously had been an aide to U.S. Senator Richard Bryan. See below for more details.


 As Clark County’s top prosecutor, District Attorney Steve Wolfson leads the largest and busiest law firm in the state of Nevada. Wolfson manages a $65 million budget and over 700 employees, including 170 attorneys, in four different divisions who, combined, handle nearly 100,000 cases annually. See below for more details.


Prior to her appointment in 2011 to Department 5 of the Eighth Judicial District Court, Judge Carolyn Ellsworth had practiced law in Clark County since 1980. She received her Juris Doctorate from Southwestern University School of Law in 1979. She has served in the Clark County District Attorney’s Office as chief deputy district attorney, the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office as administrator of the securities division, in corporate and private practice. Her professional and community involvements have included serving as president of the Southern Nevada Association of Women Attorneys, vice president of Nevada Women’s Lobby and President of  W.E.C.A.N, Inc. (Working to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect).

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