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News Release

Black Law Students Association Presents 'The Monopoly on Getting Out of Jail' with Attorney General Donovan Feb. 2 at VLS

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


—The Black Law Students Association (BLSA) at Vermont Law School will present its annual Race and the Law Forum, this year titled “The Monopoly on Getting Out of Jail,” with a keynote address from Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2, in Chase Community Center at VLS. The event is free and open to the public and press, and will be streamed live at

The forum will address prison and bail reform by asking, who gets bail in Vermont? and at what cost? In addition to Donovan, who has worked to reduce recidivism and address the causes of criminality, forum guest speakers include Ebony Nyoni of Black Lives Matter Vermont and James Lyall of the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont. VLS faculty members also will participate in the forum.

“The time is now to address the fact that Vermont’s black prison population is over three times the percentage of black residents living in the state,” said Arielle King MELP’18, a BLSA member. “During the forum, we will discuss the disparities among bail options for people of color versus their white counterparts, the ways that racism manifests in the criminal justice system, and next steps to combat these issues. We invite the community to join us and take advantage of the opportunity to ask our esteemed guests questions and hear their thoughts on the current political climate here in Vermont and beyond.”

Continuing legal education (CLE) credit is available and lunch will be provided during the Race and the Law Forum. For more information, including registration, visit Eventbrite, or email, BLSA President Rasheta Butler JD’19 at, or

The mission of the Black Law Students Association is to articulate and promote the professional goals and needs of minority law students, to encourage and foster professional competence, to focus on the relationship between minority law students and the law structure, to instill in minority law students a greater awareness of and commitment to the needs of the minority community, and to influence American law schools and legal associations to use their expertise and prestige to bring about change within the legal system in order to make it responsive to the needs of the minority community. BLSA collaborates with other student groups at Vermont Law School to promote diversity and enhance cultural awareness, and to make an impact on the institution, community and region in accordance with the missions of BLSA and the National Black Law Students Association. For more information, visit and like BLSA on Facebook.


Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, is home to the nation’s largest and deepest environmental law program. VLS offers a juris doctor curriculum that emphasizes public service; four master’s degrees—Master of Environmental Law and Policy, Master of Energy Regulation and Law, Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy, and Master of Arts in Restorative Justice; and four post-JD degrees —LLM in American Legal Studies (for foreign-trained lawyers), LLM in Energy Law, LLM in Environmental Law, and LLM in Food and Agriculture Law. The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center, South Royalton Legal Clinic, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, Energy Clinic, Food and Agriculture Clinic, Center for Applied Human Rights, and Center for Justice Reform. For more information, visit, find us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.