South Carolina’s jails and prisons are filling up. Incarcerating criminals is becoming one of the largest line items in our state budget. This Thursday and Friday, the Charleston School of Law and the Riley Institute will host a major symposium on crime and punishment in this state. The symposium will bring together attorneys, policy makers and others to find saner and more civilized ways to reform our failed criminal justice. It’s not too late to register for this important event. Go to

NEWS from Charleston School of Law
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2010
CONTACT: Andy Brack at 843.670.3996 or
Will Cook at 843.801.3366 or

Crime and Punishment symposium set for Feb. 18-19
Law School, Riley Institute to bring together professionals for Charleston conference

FEB. 10, 2010 — Crime and punishment is the topic of the second annual Law and Society Series Symposium set for Feb. 18-19 in Charleston. The series is presented by the Charleston Law Review of the Charleston School of Law and the Richard W. Riley Institute of Government, Politics and Public Leadership at Furman University.

“The crime and punishment symposium will survey the functions of criminal punishment in law and society, determine shortcomings, and offer a look at suggested reforms,” said Will Cook, assistant professor at the Charleston School of Law. “These issues are relevant to everyone, including lawyers in every discipline. When laws that criminalize and punish conduct create unintended consequences, social cost is high.”

By bringing together different legal constituencies, the “Crime and Punishment” symposium will explore the range and functions of criminal punishment, evaluate whether existing law meets identified objectives, revisit the definition of cruel and unusual punishment, analyze the effect of the financial crisis on white collar crime, and examine the troubled relationship between schools and prison. In addition to identifying problems in the crime and punishment system, speakers will offer constructive solutions.

According to Don Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute at Furman, the symposium could not come at a more appropriate time. “The conference represents an opportunity for a common sense discussion about why we criminalize and punish, and whether the systems our governments have created are accomplishing these goals.”

The program begins 5 p.m. Feb. 18 in the Charleston Music Hall with a keynote address by Bryan A. Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative based in Montgomery, Alabama. The title of Stevenson’s address is “The Politics of Crime and Punishment: Condemnation, Mercy, and Justice.”

The symposium continues on 8:30 to 5 p.m. Feb. 19 with a series of panel discussions by scholars, judges, lawmakers, lawyers, and public advocates. The second day’s activities take place at the Charleston Museum. A complete schedule for the symposium is available at

Although there is no charge for attending Thursday afternoon’s keynote address, cost for Friday’s events is $50 for those in the non-profit sector and $75 for attorneys in the private sector. Students are offered free admission. Participants can register online at

The Charleston Law Review is the flagship journal of the Charleston School of Law. The Law Review will publish a companion issue to the symposium that may be ordered through its Web site. In past issues, the Charleston Law Review has published significant public figures ranging across the political spectrum from President-elect Barack Obama to former presidential legal advisor John Yoo.


Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.