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States of Incarceration is a collaboration of over 1000 students and others deeply affected by incarceration in 28 cities and counting. They grew up in a United States that incarcerates more of its people, including immigrants, than any country in the world – and at any point in its history. In 2015, when the project began, they witnessed a new bipartisan consensus that the criminal justice system is broken and the intense conflict over how to fix it.


They came together to ask: How did this happen? What new questions does the past challenge us to ask about what is happening now? To find answers, they examined their own communities’ histories. Through courses at universities led in collaboration with directly impacted leaders, local teams share stories, search archives, and visit correctional facilities. Each team creates one piece of the project’s traveling exhibition and website, and hosts public actions.


Together, these stories represent a diverse genealogy of the incarceration generation. It challenges all of us to remember our own past and use the insights of history to shape what happens next. 

New communities are adding their stories all the time -- we hope you’ll add yours. Interested? See below or contact us.


Local partners:​

  • Teach a course on the history of incarceration nationally/globally as well as in your local community, using
    SOI teaching resources.

  • Lead students to collaborate with others directly impacted by incarceration outside the college/university to
    curate a new “chapter” of SOI about a history of incarceration in your state/community, using SOI design
    template and workplan, for inclusion in physical and digital SOI exhibit.

  • Host exhibit at a local venue.

  • Host public dialogues around exhibit.

  • Pay digital and physical exhibit design/fabrication fee.

Partners or their local venues should be prepared to assume costs of local hosting, including community partnerships, public programs, and exhibit installation costs.


HAL provides:​

  • Teaching resources on both subject and methodology, including readings and other media on incarceration histories, speakers bureau, and guidelines and models for community collaboration/co-curation and dialogue facilitation.

  • Week-by-week curation work plan, providing guidelines for how to work with your team to produce a “chapter”
    within a one or two semester sequence.

  • Design guidelines and options for media and formats for both physical and digital exhibits.

  • Design files and material specifications and instructions for production of additional local exhibits.

  • Digital and physical exhibit design and production.

  • Exhibit shipped and insured.

  • Public program designs.

  • Communications package and support for publicizing local events.

  • Web platform for student reflections on States of Incarceration blog.

  • Convenings with other national partners, with opportunities for students, faculty, and community partners to exchange work and experiences.


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