Mental Health, Excessive Sentencing, & the Death Penalty: Virtual Conference Series 2022

This free conference – hosted by The Equitas Project and 8th Amendment Project – will offer 60-minute panels each day for five days to explore the intersection of mental health, excessive sentencing, and the death penalty. 

Panelists will cover topics such as legislative reform; the importance of mitigation investigation and story-telling through the various phases of a case; the role of mental health in resentencing efforts and challenging conditions of confinement; the impact of trauma and adverse childhood experiences; the impact of racism on mental health, access to services and care, and criminal sentencing; and a 360 degree look at how these issues affect the mental health of everyone involved—including individuals facing excessive sentencing, as well as jurors, corrections officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, mental health providers, advocates for social change, and political actors. 


◊ Monday | April 25 | 3:00pm – 4:00pmET ◊

  • How Racism Impacts Mental Health, Access to Services and Care, and Criminal Sentencing
    • Dr. Sarah Vinson, Author of Social (In)Justice and Mental Health
    • Danielle Sered, Common Justice
    • Dr. Apryl Alexander, University of Denver, Graduate School of Professional Psychology, Denver FIRST, Outpatient Competency Restoration Program, Denver FIRST Juvenile Justice Project
    • Henderson Hill, ACLU Capital Punishment Project


◊ Monday | April 25 | 4:00pm – 5:00pmET ◊


◊ Tuesday | April 26 | 4:00pm – 5:00pmET ◊


◊ Wednesday | April 27 | 4:00pm – 5:00pmET ◊

  • The Importance of Story-Telling and Humanizing Clients with Mental Illness in Three Stages: Pre-Trial, Sentencing, and Post-Trial (Clemency and Parole)


◊ Thursday | April 28 | 4:00pm – 5:00pmET ◊

  • Film Screening and Discussion: Too Ill to Execute
    • Patricia Earnhardt, Filmmaker and Surviving Family Member of Murder Victims
    • Sarah McGee, Tennessee Alliance for the Severe Mental Illness Exclusion


◊ Friday | April 29 | 4:00pm – 5:00pmET ◊

  • How Trauma, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and Mental Illness Impact the Brain and Behavior