Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice


Robina In Conversation Series

We Are All Criminals

3:00pm to 5:00pm
Mondale Hall, Room 25

Please join the Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice on April 17, 2018 from 3 to 5 p.m. for a Robina In Conversation, "We Are All Criminals, an In Conversation with Emily Baxter" in Room 25 at the University of Minnesota Law School.

One in four people in the United States has a criminal record. Used by the vast majority of employers, legislators, landlords and licensing boards to craft policy and determine the character of an individual, it can have a profound impact on one’s life. In our electronic and data age, it typically does not disappear, regardless of how long it’s been or how far one’s come. It’s a record that prevents not only professional licensure and a gainful career path, but can also get in the way of obtaining entry-level positions, foster care licenses, entry into college, and safe housing. It may even affect the attorney-client relationship, if the attorney is less likely to trust or empathize with a client because of his or her criminal record; criminal records may impact one’s access to justice.

Because of deep disparities in our criminal and juvenile justice systems and systems of community reentry, people of color, American Indians, and poor communities are disproportionately more likely to carry the burden of a criminal record.

We Are All Criminals seeks to challenge society’s perception of what it means to be a criminal and how much weight a record should be given, when truly – we are all criminals. But it is also a commentary on the disparate impact of our nation’s policies, policing, and prosecution: many of the participants benefited from belonging to a class and race that is not overrepresented in the criminal justice system. Permanent and public criminal records perpetuate inequities, precluding millions of people from countless opportunities to move on and move up. We Are All Criminals questions the wisdom and fairness in those policies.

University of Minnesota Law School Professor Perry Moriearty will lead this In Conversation with former Robina Fellow and author, Emily Baxter.  

Emily will present her recently published book We Are All Criminals that includes some key findings of her research, challenging society’s perception of what it means to be a criminal. She will share stories of individuals who have been left behind because of their record and stories of those who have had the luxury of forgetting prior criminal behavior that never resulted in them obtaining criminal records. She will discuss the existence and impact of racial disparities in the justice system and how those disparities reflect in criminal records, as well a public policy and collateral consequences related to criminal record. This presentation will be followed up by panel discussion with Emily Baxter (We Are All Criminals), Professor Perry Moriearty (UMN Law School), Richard McLemore II (Ujamaa Place), and Assistant Professor Ebony Ruhland (University of Cincinnati).


Register Now
Registration Fee: $10 for in-person attendance; $15 for online viewing.
Students: Free, but registration is required. Students may be required to show a student I.D. at the door.

Continuing Legal Education

An application for 2 Elimination of Bias credits is pending. Event code: 254126


Continue the conversation at a brief reception in Spannaus Commons, immediately following this event. 

Book Sales

Copies of We Are All Criminals will be for sale at the event.

We Are All Criminals

Speakers & Moderators

  • Emily Baxter Emily Baxter

    Founder and Executive Director of We Are All Criminals

  • Richard McLemore II Richard McLemore II

    Housing Director, Ujamaa Place

  • Perry Moriearty Perry Moriearty

    Vaughan G. Papke Clinical Professor in law, University of Minnesota

  • Ebony Ruhland Ebony Ruhland

    Assistant Professor, University of Cincinnati; Former Research Director, Robina Institute


If you have additional questions please email us at or call (612) 626-6600.