Our University of the Streets Café public conversations are much like any you’d have with friends or family around a dinner table, except with more people, more points of view, and slightly more structure. Conversations are hosted by a volunteer moderator who is there to welcome everyone and keep things on track. To get things started, there’s a guest, or sometimes two, who get the ball rolling by sharing their ideas, experiences and questions. After that, it's all up to the participants.
Does incarceration result in meaningful redress of committed crimes or does it lead perpetrators to change their ways? This conversation will consider the impact of a punishment approach and the sorts of community-based and dialog-based alternatives that some would propose to it. Have we meaningfully progressed away from penal law and the need to rule by threat of violence? What is the historical grounding of our modern solutions to crime and how to we subtly perpetuate them through a variety of social systems (parenting, education, health-care)? To what extent can compassion lead us to support people who have been excluded from society and turn to crime as a result?
Jean Marc Bougie is third of a family of 4 boys. He holds diplomas in Legal Sciences (UQAM) and in Theology (St. Paul University). His professional background is in work relations and communications management. He was incarcerated for 4 years for an economic crime. He is involved in his community as a meal delivery volunteer, in accompanying former inmates and he assists isolated and socially excluded individuals in filling tax forms and similar documents.
Marie Beemans is a supporter of prisoner rights and an advocate for prison reform. She was born in New Liskard, ON in 1933 and first visited a penitentiary in 1950. She holds a BA in Sociology (Concordia University) and an MA in Criminology (Université de Montréal). She is a member of the Montreal Southwest Community Ministries. From 1983-1986 she coordinated the national campaign against the return of the death penalty. Since 1991 she has opened her home to federal prisoners in transition.
Jimmy Ung has worked at the intersections of education, culture, politics, policy development and community engagement. He has held positions at the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, the Canadian Parliament, as well as with international charity Free The Children. Passionate about learning from people, Jimmy has also ridden a motorcycle across the Americas, conducting photo interviews with 150 individuals in the 18 countries he visited, for which he recently self-published a book titled "Americano".
Accessibility info: Café l’Artère is on the ground floor and can be accessed by a ramp. There are two gender-neutral washrooms equipped with grab bars.