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Prison Studies Project


The Prison Studies Project, in collaboration with Boston University’s Prison Education Program and the MA Department of Correction, brings together students from Harvard and students in prison. Each is part of a curriculum for college credit; classes focus on urban sociology, race, ethics, and transformative learning.


The growth of America’s prison and jail populations over the last 35 years creates an array of new challenges for public policy and provokes a variety of questions about the quality of American democracy and citizenship. The Prison Studies Project conducts research to address these challenges and questions.


The Prison Studies Project aims to raise public awareness about incarceration in America, promote a perspective on criminal punishment that emphasizes its connection to racial, class and other socioeconomic disadvantages, and inject into the public conversation a discussion of policy alternatives.

April 11th – “A Logic from Hell: Fundamental Critiques of Punishment”

Apr 7, 2015
This Saturday April 11th, from 9-6pm at Harvard Law School, Unbound: Harvard Journal of the Legal Left is hosting an annual spring conference entitled A Logic from Hell: Fundamental Critiques of Punishment. Inspired by the energy, insight, and resources that are currently being poured into questioning the American criminal justice system, this conference will address deeper critiques of the foundational assumptions, ethical implications, and historical contingency of the carceral system. A Logic from Hell: Fundamental Critiques of Punishment will ask questions like ‘when is punishment a legitimate aim of the state?'; ‘what modern circumstances sanction state violence?'; and ‘what is the relationship between ethics and violence?’ and more.

Study of People We Incarcerate: Boston Reentry Study

Apr 3, 2015
A recently posted article by The Marshall Project provides an overview of the findings of the Boston Reentry Study, which tracks the lives of 135 men and women who left state prison in Massachusetts for communities in the Boston area in 2012-2013. The study seeks to explore the impact of incarceration on families and communities.

March 26th – Bipartisan Summit on Criminal Justice Reform

Mar 12, 2015
On March 26th in Washington D.C., Americans from all political backgrounds will come together for the first Bipartisan Summit on Criminal Justice Reform to discuss the #cut50 initiative. #cut50 seeks to reduce America's incarcerated population "by 50 percent over the next 10 years by convening unlikely allies, elevating proven solutions, and communicating a powerful new narrative."

NYU Launches Prison Education Program

Mar 6, 2015
The New York University Prison Education Program has received a $500,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to begin offering credit-bearing, university courses to incarcerated individuals at the Wallkill Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison in New York State’s Ulster County, which will enable students to earn an Associate of Arts (AA) degree from the university.
  • National Directory of Prison Education Programs

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