The Schoolcraft International Institute in partnership with Student Activities, as part of our Focus Series on Human Rights present: From Life Imprisonment to the Death Penalty: A Human Rights Perspective on the Criminal/Legal System in the U.S
Currently, the United States (U.S.) federal government and 31 states allow for the imposition of the death penalty for the “worst of the worst” criminals who are believed to be especially deserving of execution. When the death penalty is not used or eligible for use, a common alternative is life imprisonment (also known as life without parole or LWOP). These sentencing practices bring to light the ethical problems related to the treatment of individuals who are incarcerated. In this presentation, attendees will learn about the human rights and justice issues surrounding the criminal legal system in the U.S., with a particular focus on the death penalty and life imprisonment. Attendees will also learn about how mental health and legal professionals are advocating for more humane treatment of justice-involved individuals through mitigation investigation and case litigation. Related topics covered in this presentation include mental and behavioral health, poverty, and race.
Dr. Athena Kheibari, PhD, is an assistant professor at the Wayne State University School of Social Work. Dr. Kheibari has diverse experiences in social work practice and research. She has over three years of direct practice experience as a capital mitigation specialist working with capital defendants and public defenders to advocate for a sentence less than death in capital murder cases.
Dr. Kheibari also has a record of working in collaborative teams to conduct and publish quantitative and qualitative research on a range of topics – suicide attitudes, substance use among incarcerated women, suicide risk assessment in jails, mitigating evidence in criminal cases, among others. Dr. Kheibari also teaches a course on behavioral health and the criminal/legal systems at Wayne State University.