For release: November 4, 2010
For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey, 901/678-2843
“My Brother’s Keeper: Mental Illness and the Criminal Justice System” will be discussed
by two men with tragic first-hand knowledge of that topic, when the University of
Memphis sponsors their appearance on campus Wednesday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. in the University
Center Theatre (Room 145).
The event is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the Zach Curlin
Street parking garage adjacent to the University Center.
Speaking will be David Kaczynski, brother of Theodore Kaczynski, the so-called ‘Unabomber,’
and Bill Babbitt, who sought help for his mentally ill brother, only to see his brother
be incarcerated for 20 years and ultimately executed by the state of California.
After David Kaczynski alerted the authorities that he suspected that his brother might
be the mysterious bomber, Ted was arrested in 1996. Since that time, David has devoted
his life to reforming the criminal justice system in New York and around the country
and to promoting initiatives that can address the root causes of violence. He is director
of New Yorkers for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
Babbitt’s brother was a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, but he suffered from
severe, persistent mental illness. Bill thought that the justice system would be a
source of help for him; but what he thought would happen, did not. Since his brother’s
execution, Bill has made it his mission to travel the country speaking about the death
penalty. He is a board member of Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights.
At the U of M program, both men will talk about how the United States’ current legal
system deals with people who are mentally ill, and about what can be done to address
shortcomings related to that issue.
The program is presented by the U of M’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice,
in cooperation with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Amnesty International,
and the Memphis branch of the NAACP.
More information is available at 615-361-6608 from Robin Nobling, who is with the
Tennessee office of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.