LLC5: Incarceration and Decarceration


Humanities Working Group studying incarceration and pursuing decarceration, prison education, and restorative justice initiatives.

Open to New People

Active since: 2013

  • Syracuse University
  • University of Rochester
  • Cornell University

Collaborative Goals

Working in conjunction with the Cornell Prison Education Program and the Rochester Education Justice Initiative, this Working Group looks to foster a scholarly community adjacent to decarceration work and to organize events of general interest to educate the public and to connect people to decarceral organizing activities.

Group Organizers

Alison Peterman

Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Rochester

Evelyne Leblanc-Roberge

Associate Professor of Art, Lens Based Media, University of Rochester

Joel Burges

Associate Professor of English and Visual & Cultural Studies, University of Rochester

Joshua Dubler

Associate Professor of Religion; Director, Rochester Education Justice Initiative, University of Rochester

Kristin Doughty

Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Rochester

Patrick W. Berry

Associate Professor, Writing and Rhetoric, Syracuse University

Rob Scott

Executive Director, Cornell Prison Education Program; Adjunct Asst. Professor in the School of Integrative Plant Sciences, Horticulture Division, Cornell University

Group Members

  • Patrick W. Berry, Associate Professor, Syracuse University
  • Joel Burges, Associate Professor, University of Rochester
  • Kristin Doughty, Associate Professor, University of Rochester
  • Joshua Dubler, Associate Professor, University of Rochester
  • Evelyne Leblanc-Roberge, Associate Professor, University of Rochester
  • Allison Peter, Associate Professor, University of Rochester
  • Rob Scott, Executive Director, Cornell Prison Education Program

Group Outcomes

The building of community across disciplinary and academic boundaries continues to be strong. Our presentations have brought together diverse authors and activists. We have centered the work of formerly incarcerated individuals. Some of the work, like Page's visit, led to partnerships with Freedom Commons, the housing complex connected with Center for Community Alternatives, where Page gave a second workshop.

Fall 2022 at Rochester: “Uncertainty in Love: An Abolitionist Investigation”- Lecture with Fannie Bialek on Oct. 19

Fannie Bialek, "Uncertainty in Love: An Abolitionist Investigation" Wednesday, October 19th at 5:00pm Humanities Center Conference Room D Synopsis: Lovers desire a future together, without being certain exactly what it will be. What can love teach us about other uncertainties in ethics and politics, and what we need to imagine our futures together beyond our loving relationships? How is the uncertainty of love a classroom for abolitionist imagination—and how might it challenge efforts to build communities beyond preferential relationships? Attendance: 25

Spring 2023 at Rochester: Decarceration Organizers Roundtable: "Another World is Possible" on Jan. 19

"Another World is Possible: Organizers Roundtable" Event description: an event that assembles decarceral organizers to plug students into abolitionist projects Participants: Indy Maring and Asia Barry, People's Liberation Project Jalil Muntaqim, Citizen Action Jose DiLenola, RAPP Campaign Thomas Gant, Center for Community Alternatives Stanley Martin, Free the People ROC, Vocal NY Ruth Seabolt, Monroe County Public Defenders Office Halima Aweis, Free the People ROC Shirley Thompson, Elders and Allies Attendance: 100

Fall 2022 at Syracuse: The Stories We Tell Ourselves - Lecture with Johnny Page on Oct. 26

Event description: Join Johnny Page, Executive Director of ConTextos Chicago, and learn how this storytelling organization uses the power of literary arts and education to promote healing and reflection. Page is also an alumnus of the Education Justice Project, a comprehensive college-in-prison program based at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Attendance: 30

Spring 2023 at Syracuse: Critical Aesthetic Practices: Visualizing Fatal Policies with Incarcerated Artists on April 18

Event description: In 2018, artists with the Prison + Neighborhood Arts/Education Project created a series of thematic works around long-term sentencing policies and the other" long-terms" they produce: long-term struggles for freedom, long-term loss in communities, and long-term relationships behind the prison walls. The projects emerged from classes and collaborative work at Stateville Correctional Center, where people are serving extraordinarily long prison terms (60, 70, and 80 years), often for crimes based on which they would have already been released had they been sentenced 30 years earlier or in a different country. This presentation will discuss methods of teaching and learning with artists at Stateville to produce a popular project that seeks to education communities about the fatal sentencing policies that produce a community of the "living dead," as described by one artist. Sarah Ross is an artist whose work is centered on the spatial politics of race, gender, class and control. Her projects use photo, video, and installations, and she works collaboratively with other artists and communities. Since 2006, she has been working with incarcerated artists in IL prisons. In 2011, she co-founded the Prison + Neighborhood Arts/Education Project (PNAP), a cultural project that brings together artists, writers and scholars in and outside Stateville prison to create public projects. Attendance: 50