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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.

Save the Date: FREE HER Justice Advocacy Conference

Jun 2, 2015
On Wednesday August 5th, 2015, the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice and Families for Justice as Healing will be sponsoring the FREE HER Justice Advocacy Conference at Harvard Law School. The conference will join together formerly incarcerated women and allies from across the country to share strategies for criminal justice restructuring, from the voices of those most impacted.

Vera Institute Releases Online Resource Center to Expand Access to Education in Prisons

Apr 29, 2015
As part of the Expanding Access to Postsecondary Education Project, the Vera Institute of Justice recently released an online resource center to assist state departments of corrections and state and local policymakers in implementing and expanding quality higher education programs in prison and post-release. This includes the development of policies and practices to increase the participation of incarcerated individuals in these programs.

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.
  • National Directory of Prison Education Programs

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