Description/Abstract of your Event:
Often, information about the criminal legal system is inaccessible to those most affected by it. Inaccessibility to information and pathways to advocacy can have dire consequences for individuals and families and lead to lifetime involvement in the criminal legal system. By providing easy access to information about the criminal legal system to those most affected by it, we can begin to better empower people with the tools to advocate for themselves. This panel discusses the ways in which information is often withheld through legalistic language, barriers to accessing information, and bureaucracy. The panel discusses the causes and obstacles of the inaccessibility to information, exploring obstacles to making information available to all, in a way that is cognizant of the barriers and privileges we experience accessing information that facilitates more equitable outcomes in the legal system and beyond. Discussion will be informed by an examination of the Just Info hotline, a hotline with the very simple, yet profound, goal of providing information, referrals, and tools for people to advocate for themselves or loved ones. Just Info's hotline does not rewrite information, or provide legal advice, but rather collates existing information and makes it easily accessible. Just Info is founded on a commitment to equity in the legal system, and within our own operations. People have a right to participate effectively in decisions that impact their futures in fundamental ways.