CVCC Holds Discussion on Policing & Criminal Justice System in Conjunction with Interdisciplinary Read

Melissa Neal - Criminal Justice Planner Meck County Image

Melissa Neal

Catawba Valley Community College will host a presentation by Dr. Melissa Neal entitled “Liberty and Justice for All,” Wed., Oct. 21, at noon in room 582 of the Cuyler A. Dunbar Bldg. on the main campus in Hickory.

Open to the public, the discussion is part of a series that focuses on the college’s annual interdisciplinary read, “Blood Done Sign My Name” by Dr. Timothy B. Tyson.A Criminal Justice Planning Manager for Mecklenburg County, Dr. Nealspecializes in a public health approach to public safety. Her presentation will address the public conversation sparked recently by media attention to policing and the criminal justice system.

In North Carolina, disproportionate contact of minorities in the criminal justice system is widespread and persistent. Dr. Neal’s presentation will provide information about disproportionality and disparities in the Mecklenburg County criminal justice system, while also covering current efforts by many jurisdictions to eliminate unfair and unjust practices.

In 2007, she co-founded a nonprofit, Families Free, Inc., to address the needs of families affected by incarceration in Northeast Tennessee. She has worked at various firms in Washington, D.C., including the Justice Policy Institute. She joined the Mecklenburg County Criminal Justice Services department in 2013.

Dr. Neal leads research, project management, and strategic planning around efforts to provide an evidence-based, effective, and fair criminal justice system. She has a doctorate in Public Health from East Tennessee State University and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Elon University. She resides in Charlotte, N.C.

Published in 2004, “Blood Done Sign My Name” is an autobiographical work of history that deals with the 1970 murder of a black man by whites in Tyson’s (then) hometown of Oxford, N.C.

Community members are invited to attend this discussion and Tyson’s campus readings March 3 at 11 a.m. in the Tarlton Complex and 6 p.m. in the East Wing Auditorium.

For more information, contact Donna Ross, 828-327-7000 x 4111,

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