On Friday, October 12, 2018, on the campus of Washington and Lee University Law School, the Women in Law Student Organization will be hosting the 5th annual Lara D. Gass Women in Law Symposium titled, "Women Incarcerated: the Female Experience in the United States Prison System". This year's symposium is inspired by Lara's published Law Review Note and her demonstrated interest in criminal justice reform.
On Friday, October 12, 2018, on the campus of Washington and Lee University Law School in the Millhiser Moot Courtroom in Sydney Lewis Hall, the Women in Law Student Organization hosted the 5th annual Lara D. Gass Women in Law Symposium from 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM. This year’s Symposium was titled, “Women Incarcerated: the Female Experience in the United States Prison System”. This year’s symposium was inspired by Lara’s published Law Review Note and her demonstrated interest in criminal justice reform.
The Symposium was comprised of three panels. One panel addressed the conditions women experience while incarcerated, one panel addressed the greater human rights considerations associated with female incarceration, and one panel addressed re-entry and rehabilitation post-incarceration.
Panelists included Claire Gastange, Executive Director of ACLU Virginia; Ann Fisher, from Virginia Cares (a re-entry program); Deb Golden of the Human Rights Defense Center; Linda Bryant from the Virginia Parole Board; and W&L Law faculty members Joan Shaughnessy and Sheryl Buske.
Jay and I made the drive to Lexington for this event and we were so inspired by the passion of these panelists when speaking about their topic. We learned quite a lot! We also enjoyed a luncheon provided by the WLSO, and were honored to say a few words about Lara. One of the hardest, but most rewarding things Jay and I get to do is to talk about our girl; and we always come away with yet another “Lara story” that we had not heard!
We also got the chance to catch up with Judge Rebecca Connelly. She was a big part of Lara’s law education and a wonderful mentor and to her. Lara always said she wanted to “be” Judge Connelly, who had it all ~ family, career and a life! Thank you Rebecca for always being there for us and for always keeping Lara in your thoughts.
Also a big “thank you” to Chairperson Claire Flowers, for the wonderful job she did organizing this event. It was professionally invigorating, and inspiring to everyone, especially those of us not in the field of law!
This symposium is such a wonderful way to keep Lara’s legacy alive in the halls of Sydney Lewis Hall on the W&L campus and for that we are so grateful.