The UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law will host the 2023 Ben J. Altheimer Symposium on Friday, March 3. This year’s theme is Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES), Trauma, and the Law. The free event, which is organized by the UA Little Rock Law Review, will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. in the Friday Courtroom at Bowen Law School.
With increased awareness of the effects of stress, adversity, and trauma on people’s lives, criminal justice professionals are considering what this means in their correctional settings. There is growing evidence of the effects of child neglect, abuse, and trauma on the health, mental health, and behavior of men and women in our justice system. Research and clinical experience indicate that there is a high correlation between trauma and recurring problems among these groups.
Trauma-informed care is an approach used to engage people with histories of trauma. It recognizes the presence of trauma symptoms and acknowledges the role that trauma can play in people’s lives. Trauma-informed criminal justice responses can help to avoid re-traumatizing individuals. This increases safety for all, decreases the chance of an individual returning to criminal behavior, and supports the recovery of justice-involved women and men.
The symposium will feature a 9:30 a.m. panel discussion on adverse childhood experiences and their effects on defendants. The panelists include Sarah Katz, clinical professor of law, Temple University Beasley School of Law; Deeya Haldar, professor of law and director of Civil Justice Clinic, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law; Dr. Lindsey Roberts, assistant professor, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; Rep. Kara Shephard, Arkansas House of Representatives; and Marci Hamilton, professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania and founder and CEO of CHILD USA.
The keynote address, “Trauma and the Legal Framework,” will begin at 11:45 a.m. featuring Samantha Buckingham, professor of law at Loyola Law School and director emeritus of the Juvenile Justice Clinic.
The afternoon panel discussion, “Trauma-Informed Justice,” will begin at 1:15 p.m. The panelists include Todd Clark, associate dean of academic affairs and professor of law, St. Thomas University College of Law; Judge Amy Dunn Johnson, family court judge serving the 6th Judicial District of Arkansas; Caleb Conrad, deputy prosecutor for 11th-West Judicial District of Arkansas; and andre douglas pond cummings, associate dean of faculty development and professor of law at Bowen.