“Are we not of interest to each other?” – Elizabeth Alexander 

To learn more about the 2019 Civic Institute and other sessions you may choose to attend, visit this link.

Inside Out: Strategies for Resisting Disconnection and Crafting Civic Identity in Alabama Communities and Prisons

If Alabama was an independent nation, it would have the fifth highest incarceration rate on the planet, with 946 per every 100,000 Alabamians behind bars or under correctional control. It’s no secret that at this moment, our state is facing a crisis of incarceration that has drawn the ire of the federal government, and negotiations to avoid a federally-imposed consent decree are currently ongoing. It is, however, not just our state government that is responsible for addressing this crisis—it is all Alabamians. 

This session will explore the responsibility we all share for welcoming the formerly incarcerated back into the fold of public life. We will deconstruct the core tenants of civic life (education, participation, socialization, work, etc.) as they serve to define and limit the carceral subject.

This session will feature speakers on the front lines of this work who are making investments into the currently and formerly incarcerated, from teaching college courses behind bars to providing housing for women during reentry, we will explore creative strategies for incorporating dialogue and deliberation behind bars in order to combat disconnection and social isolation among those currently and formerly serving time. Questions to be explored include:

What is the role of social connectedness in the correctional system? How does isolation and social disconnection exacerbate the challenges faced by prisoners as they reenter the outside?

What should the purpose of incarceration be? Is it merely punitive, or, as the term “correctional system” suggests, should it be reparative?

What responsibilities fall on us as a public to address the issue of over incarceration?

How can we build paths to re-enfranchisement for those impacted by the correctional system?

Speaker details are forthcoming. View FAQs and save your seat today here! If you have additional questions, contact the event organizer, Kate Zeliff, at kmauldin@mathewscenter.org. We hope to see you on August 16th!