The conference was held inside of the Cheshire Correctional Institution, which is the location of the Connecticut Department of Correction's T.R.U.E. Unit.
The unit, established in March 2017, was created as part of Governor Malloy's Second Chance Society initiatives and designed to prevent young adult offenders from becoming career criminals. The only one of its kind in the nation, the unit recognizes the urgency to trying a different approach to working with young adults given that they are re-incarcerated at higher rates compared to any other age group. Interceding and providing mentorship at a young age can prevent a young offender from turning toward a life of crime as an adult.
Young adult inmates in the unit work side-by-side with older mentors who have met the high standards to enter the program and provide the young people with support and help to achieve their goals. These mentors have gone through training involving Young Adult Development, Cross-Generational mentorship, conflict resolution, and program facilitation.
The Reimagining Justice 2018: Outside In conference gave attendees the opportunity to get a first-hand look at the unit and also speak with participating inmates. Panel discussions were held regarding the challenges that victims face in the criminal justice system, best practices that produce successful offender community re-entry, and educational opportunities offered in correctional facilities. A keynote speech was delivered by Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John E. Wetzel, and special remarks were be made by Michael Smith, the Executive Director of the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, as well as by Governor and Mrs. Malloy.
Portions of the conference were filmed by the Connecticut Network (CT-N), the state's public affairs network covering state government, and the Council of State Governments' Justice Center.