Emma Ketteringham spoke at the 2013 International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Denver, CO on October 26th, 2013

On Saturday, October 26th, Emma Ketteringham, Managing Attorney of the Bronx Defenders’ Family Defense Practice, was a panelist for a roundtable discussion on the drug war’s impact on the criminal justice system during the 2013 International Drug Policy Reform Conference. The International Drug Policy Reform Conference is an event that happens every two years with the purpose of bringing together people from around the world (over 1,000 attendees representing 30 different countries) who believe that the war on drugs is doing more harm than good. This event drew a wide range of participants including students, grassroots activists, scholars and other researchers, city, state and federal elected officials, people in recovery as well as active drug users, law enforcement officers, treatment providers and public health advocates. Please see below for more information on what took place during Saturday’s roundtable discussion, of which Emma Ketteringham was a participant, and click here for more information on the three day conference.


2013 International Drug Policy Reform Conference – October, 26 2013
Roundtable / Overlooked Punishment: The Drug War’s Insidious Reach Beyond the Criminal Justice System

This session explored the history and expansion of civil laws and policies that act as a vector for drug prohibition and addressed the following questions: In what ways are child welfare laws a mechanism for the war on drugs? How has drug war propaganda been used in the child welfare system? How do Family Drug Courts reinforce myths about drug use and parenting? After legalization in Colorado & Washington, in what ways will abstinence-only ideology be used to punish people? What drives racial disparities in the child welfare system? In addition to these questions, the session highlighted successful challenges to the expansion of drug war policies in the child welfare system.

Panel Participants:

Sara Arnold aka Sahra Kant, Co-Founder, Family Law & Cannabis Alliance, Clinton, MA
– parent who has been subjected to child welfare interventions.

Jess Cochrane: JD/MPH Candidate, Family Law & Cannabis Alliance, Boston, MA
– discussed research on the use of the child welfare system to control and punish drug-using parents.

Carl Hart, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Columbia University, New York, NY
– discussed research on parental drug use and his role in child welfare cases, including successful challenges.

Emma Ketteringham: Managing Attorney, Bronx Defenders, New York, NY
– discussed legal challenges and how child welfare laws act as a vector for the drug war.

M. Kay Teel, PhD, LCSW, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO
– discussed social work, on the ground perspective and the interplay between stakeholder agencies.

For more information on the 2013 International Drug Policy Reform Conference, please click here.