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Restorative Justice and the Rights of the Incarcerated

Panel featuring UMBC English Alumna Breia Lassiter, '18


Library and Gallery, Albin O. Kuhn : Gallery

Date & Time

March 27, 2024, 4:00 pm5:30 pm


This is the second of two events hosted by the Department of English relating to law and restorative justice inspired by the career path of 2018 UMBC English Alumna Breia Lassiter.

Restorative Justice and the Rights of the Incarcerated

This panel will feature three distinguished speakers:

Breia Lassiter, 2018 English Alumna, now working as an Associate Attorney for Dinsmore & Shohl. In her work as a law student clinician, Ms. Lassiter successfully advocated for the rights of an incarcerated man who was not receiving his religious meal accommodations from the prison. For months he could hardly eat anything that was served to him, and she was able to argue on his behalf as a student clinician at Michigan’s Sixth Circuit. The court published the opinion ruling in his favor. She will speak on her work in this specific case.

Walter Lomax, Executive Director, Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative.  Mr. Lomax was unjustly incarcerated in a Baltimore area prison for 39 years for crimes he didn’t commit.  Since his exoneration and release in 2007,  he has used his voice to become a powerful, influential advocate for criminal justice reform in MD. He is the founder and leader of the Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative. In 2021, The Walter Lomax Act (Senate Bill 14) was signed into law, overhauling how the state compensates people who are wrongfully convicted, sentenced, and incarcerated for crimes.

Natasha Dartigue (J.D), Office of the Public Defender, Baltimore, MD. She was just appointed in 2022 as Maryland's Public Defender and served in a related capacity in advocating for the rights of the incarcerated for more than twenty years.  She and her office have been associated with helping exonerate a number of individuals recently. Ms. Dartigue will speak about the work of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. On March 18, 1963, the United States Supreme Court guaranteed the right to counsel to indigent defendants in criminal cases in the landmark case, Gideon v. Wainwright. On July 1, 1971, the Maryland Legislature created the Maryland Office of the Public Defender (OPD). OPD opened its doors in 1972 and is an independent state agency.

Cosponsored by the UMBC Alumni Association; the Department of Gender, Women's + Sexuality Studies; the Department of History; the Department of Political Science; the Department of American Studies; the Center for Social Science Scholarship (CS3); and the Dresher Center for the Humanities.