A Bigger Canvas: Expanding the Narratives About Life-Sentenced Prisoners
Dr. Steve Herbert
Professor-Department of Geography, Director-Law, Societies & Justice, University of Washington
Abstract: One in nine American prisoners is serving a life sentence. This little-noticed aspect of U.S. incarceration policy generates massive and unwanted implications, not least for the life-sentenced themselves, who suffer under the most severe of social castigations. Yet despite their banishment, many lifers display a remarkable capacity to establish social relations of considerable depth and impact. This presentation draws upon extensive interviews with 21 life-sentenced prisoners in two medium-security Washington prisons, and reviews how they craft lives of purpose and meaning. Their stories of change and redemption deserve greater amplification. They also deserve greater consideration as American punishment policy and practice continue to unfold.
Colloquium in Smith 304 at 3:30 with reception to follow in Smith 411.