Our mission is to bring the general public into contact with members of the legal community and advocacy groups in order to increase overall awareness of legal policy, and to facilitate discussion toward the reform of the criminal justice system.
In Our Name began as a book in 2004. It has since developed into a series of symposiums featuring some of the most prominent figures and advocates in the fields of criminal and restorative justice. At In Our Name, we place a strong emphasis on inclusiveness. The symposiums are made available to the general public and to members of the academic, faith and legal communities. They are also made available to crime victims, to the formerly incarcerated, and to their families. Scholarships are available for anyone who wishes to attend a conference but is unable to pay for the cost of registration, meals and lodging. The In Our Name free legal services and education center will provide legal assistance and seminars to veterans of the United States armed forces and people who are unable to afford the cost of an attorney for civil and criminal matters as well as incarcerated persons through a toll-free prisoner help-line.
The title In Our Name stems from our belief that public education about our nations justice system is essential for the preservation of liberty, and necessary to ensure accountability by all to the rule of law. Every time a warrant is issued, an investigation takes place, an arrest is made, an indictment is handed up, a plea entered, a trial conducted, a verdict reached, a sentence imposed and a cell door slammed shut, it is done by our public officials. Thus, it is done â€œin our nameâ€- in the name of each and every member of our society.
At In Our Name, we believe that the legal process places a serious but necessary burden on every citizen. As citizens, it is our responsibility to ensure that before any form of legal action takes place, the state or federal actors responsible for the administration of our laws have applied and adhered to every constitutional right, privilege and immunity afforded by our state and federal constitutions, especially the right of effective assistance of counsel. We must ensure that they have respected the rule of law. In order to meet this responsibility, the public must be educated and quality legal services and resources must be available to all. One cannot be concerned about or correct what one is not aware of, and this is the specific problem which our organization hopes to remedy. The In Our Name symposiums, website and blog seek to ensure the proper application of justice by educating the public on legal matters, increasing awareness of legal policy, and encouraging participation in evaluating the fairness of the legal process.