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Putting the Prison in its Place: A Film maker, a professor and an exonerated, formerly incarcerated community activist reflect on the curious place of the prison in American public life


With over 2 million people held in U.S. jails and prisons, the United States is the world's leading jailer. The shadow of the prison, however, extends far beyond the prison gates. Join us for a conversation on the curious place of the prison in American public life. The conversation will be led by an esteemed panel of experts.

  • Brett Story, documentary film maker and critical geographer with the CUNY center on Place, Politics, and Culture will show clips from her new film, The Prison in 12 Landscapes, and lead us in a discussion of the not so obvious places the prison rears its head. For a preview of the film see:
  • John Eason, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Texas A&M University will share notes from his forthcoming book, "Big House on the Prairie: Rise of the Rural Ghetto and Prison Proliferation, a study of prison placement and an ethnography of a rural prison town".
  • Walter Smith, a formerly incarcerated community activist, radio host, and 5 time championship body builder who was wrongfully imprisoned for 11 years and eventually exonerated after filing a motion for DNA testing. He has since hosted the weekly radio program "Street Soldier," written a book, and done violence prevention workshops throughout the nation.

The Event will be hosted by Reuben Jonathan Miller, Assistant Professor of Social Work, faculty Associate, ISR, and Faculty Affiliate, DAAS and Hazelette Crosby Robinson, a formerly incarcerated community activist, alumna of the University of Michigan School of Social Work, and Research Associate on the Detroit Reentry Project.

This timely conversation with a professor, a geographer and film maker, and an exonerated, formerly incarcerated activist will direct our attention away from the prison itself and help us to attend to its impact across communities, across geographies, and across sites of cultural representation.

Event Details

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