Media Contact

Steve Kilar, 602-773-6007,

April 18, 2018

Storytelling event presented by the ACLU of Arizona's highlights the urgent need for criminal justice reform


PHOENIX—Shawna Roman’s oldest son just turned 12. The last time she saw him, he was about to turn 5. Her youngest son does not even remember her.

“I can’t write them, I can’t call them, I don’t even know what they look like,” Shawna said.

After she was incarcerated, she was unable to leave prison to attend a custody hearing. Arizona’s criminal justice system tore her away from her young sons.

Shawna has been out of prison for almost six months and is focused on improving her life, but she also wants to improve the criminal justice system.

“People need drug treatment, they need programs to help them work on what it is that they’re trying to look for outside themselves, to help them fix what’s going on inside," Shawna said.

Shawna, and other former prisoners, will share their stories of life in Arizona prisons during a presentation on Saturday, April 28, hosted by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe. The event is part of Changing Hands’ Independent Bookstore Day Celebration.

    WHAT: Smart Justice: Stories on Incarceration

    WHO: People who have been incarcerated in Arizona including Shawna Roman, formerly incarcerated mother; Eugene Glover, incarcerated for 14 years; and representatives of the ACLU of Arizona.

    WHEN: Saturday, April 28 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

    WHERE: Changing Hands, 6428 South McClintock Drive, Tempe, AZ 85283.

Each speaker will share the personal struggles they face as they reintegrate into society. Although they have served their time, obstacles continue to hold them back from their pursuit of happiness.

The presentation is part of the ACLU of Arizona’s Campaign for Smart Justice, a multiyear initiative aimed at reducing Arizona’s jail and prison population by 50 percent and combating racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

“Arizona has the fourth highest incarceration rate in the United States,” said Sandra Castro Solis, ACLU of Arizona organizing director. “And our state’s criminal justice system has a profoundly disparate impact on people of color. We need to take action now to make our criminal justice system smarter, more efficient, and more effective.”

To RSVP to the event visit:

To learn more about the ACLU of Arizona’s Campaign for Smart Justice, visit: