Updated: Jul 28, 2020
The public will be able to do something that the event’s organizers cannot: attend. The conference was conceived and organized by inmates from the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia, who will have a chance to watch recordings of the proceedings later.
The conference’s keynote speakers will be Ted Lewis of the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking at the University of Minnesota; Kristen Deede Johnson, associate professor of theology and Christian formation at Western Theological Seminary; and Eric Boldiszar, Handlon inmate and Calvin Prison Initiative student, through a pre-recorded presentation.
Other speakers and panelists include Bishop David J. Walkowiak, Diocese of Grand Rapids; Rep. David LaGrand, state representative (D) for Grand Rapids; Rep. Joe Haveman, former state representative (R) for Holland; Troy Rienstra of Network for Real Change; Warden DeWayne Burton of Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility; Tricia Worrell, director of prison and jail ministry, Diocese of Grand Rapids; and Julie Bylsma and Todd Cioffi of Calvin Prison Initiative.
In addition to the Saint Benedict Institute, the conference is being presented in partnership with Hope College, Calvin College, Calvin Seminary, the Calvin Prison Initiative and the Corpus Christi Foundation. The Calvin Prison Initiative is a partnership between Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary that provides a Christian liberal arts education to inmates at Handlon. A total of 40 inmates are participating in the initiative, which leads to a Bachelor of Arts degree in ministry leadership.