Justice through Education: Creating Space in the University for the Formerly Incarcerated

Friday, July 14, 2017
Gilbert Scott Conference Room - 251 (University of Glasgow)
Emily Hainze , Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University
This paper explores the impact that higher education might have on the lives of people who have been formerly incarcerated, and the potentially transformative effects that result from creating programming for students not only in prison, but also in the process of re-entering society.  When the formerly incarcerated return from prison, and begin the process of re-entry, they face challenges in finding employment and housing, as well as psychological readjustment to their new circumstances; these challenges can extend far beyond the first months post-release, with lasting impact on the lives of the formerly incarcerated as well as their families and communities. In particular, I focus on the creation and facilitation of credit-bearing courses that formerly incarcerated people in New York City’s metro area can take at Columbia University in order to continue their education.  I ask: how might access to higher education enable formerly incarcerated students to better access employment opportunities, to complete a degree program, to create new professional networks, and to advocate for themselves as well as potentially for changes in the criminal justice system itself?  What role might the university take on in supporting the re-entry processes of the formerly incarcerated, and what are the limits of this potential support? Might creating a space on campus for formerly incarcerated students amplify the social impact of the university itself?
  • hainze - CES paper.docx (491.6 kB)