1st Edition

Higher Education and the Carceral State Transforming Together

Edited By Annie Buckley Copyright 2024
    260 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    260 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Higher Education and the Carceral State: Transforming Together explores the diversity of ways in which university faculty and students are intervening in the system of mass incarceration through the development of transformative arts and educational programs for students in correctional institutions.

    Demonstrating the ways that higher education can intervene in and disrupt the deeply traumatic experience of incarceration and shift the embedded social-emotional cycles that lead to recidivism, this book is both inspiration and guide for those seeking to create and sustain programs as well as to educate students about the types of programs universities bring to prisons.

    From arts workshops and educational courses to degree-granting programs, individuals and communities across multiple disciplines in higher education are actively breaking the cycle of shame and division in mass incarceration through direct engagement. This book explores the inspiring, innovative, and changemaking initiatives in carceral spaces - from arts workshops and educational courses to degree granting programs - through the lens of faculty, artists, scholars, students, and administrators. Readers will learn the diverse ways in which these interventions and partnerships can take shape and the life changing impacts that they have on all those involved, in particular students who are incarcerated. The book includes authors with lived experience of incarceration throughout.

    Section I highlights the voices of students who are currently or formerly incarcerated, while Section II addresses diverse collaborations through and across systems of corrections and education. Section III features the voices of teaching artists, while Section IV includes those that start and lead these programs, offering roadmaps for others interested in engaging in this transformative work.


    Larry Brewster


    Annie Buckley


    Section I: Voices of Students

    1. Scheduled Conflict

    Alex Bolling

    2. Transformation and Redemption: A Personal Narrative from a Position of Lived Experience

    Ginny Emiko Oshiro

    3. Transforming Lives Through Prison Higher Education

     Jeffrey Stein

    4. The Freedom & Captivity Curriculum Project

    Linda Small

    5. Humanizing the Numbers: A Photographic Collaboration

    Jamal Biggs and Isaac Wingfield

    Section II: Collaborating in and through the System

    6. Scaling walls: Dismantling Asymmetries through Empowering Song

    André de Quadros, Wayland “X” Coleman, and Krystal Morin

    7. Disappearing Acts” and Education as the Practice of Freedom: Feminist Pedagogy in Carceral Spaces

    Laura E. Ciolkowski

    8. The Brutal Stories That Connect Us

    Joshua Fernandez

    9. Matters of Life and Death: Art, Education, and Activism on Death Row

    Robin Paris, Tom Williams, and Barbara Yontz

    10. An Achingly Realized Sunset: The Importance of Prison Creative Writing

    Jason Kahler

    11. Transcommunal Peace, Cooperation, and Respect for Diversity: A University/Prison Multi-Partnership Approach

    John Brown Childs, Flora Lu, and Sarah Woodside Bury

    Section III Voices of Teaching Artists and Scholars

    12. Writing About Art

    Duston Spear

    13. Beyond This Door: Photographic Vision and Carceral Experience

    Evan Hume

    14. Why French?: Fear and Freedom in Stepping Outside Our Languages

    Cecelia Ramsey

    15. Pushing Back/Pushing Forward: Embracing the Margins to Build Non-Punitive Learning Environments in Canadian Correctional Facilities

    Nicole Patrie

    16. Excursion and Return: Exploring Transformative Texts, Great Questions, and the Human Experience in the Prison Classroom

    Dale Brown

    Section IV: Changemaking and Coalition Building

    17. The Poem. The Painting. Us.

    Kyes Stevens

    18. Building Bridges Through Prison-University Partnerships

    Emma Hughes

    19. Arts Research in Carceral Settings: Prison Arts Collective

    Brian L. Heisterkamp, Bryant Joachim Jackson-Green, Ginny Emiko Oshiro, and Annie Buckley

    20. Reimagining Our Futures: The Beginning, Middle, and End of the Digital Higher Education Journey for Incarcerated Learners

    Helen Farley and Stephen Seymour

    21. Structuring the Conduit: Expanding Prison-University Partnerships Through the Readers’ Circle

    Keziah Poole and Rowan A. Bayne

    22. An Octopus in the Scaffolding: Ten Years of Prison Arts Collective

    Annie Buckley


    Annie Buckley is the founder and director of Prison Arts Collective, an internationally recognized statewide Arts in Corrections program that has brought multidisciplinary arts classes and arts facilitator trainings to over 7,000 participants in 16 state prisons across California since 2013. In addition, she is the founding director of VISTA (Valuing Incarcerated Scholars through Academia), a new BA degree-granting program at San Diego State University, where she is also a professor and associate dean. Buckley is an artist, curator, and widely published author whose work has appeared in leading international contemporary art publications, including Artforum, Art in America, the Huffington Post, and she is an editor at large with the Los Angeles Review of Books, where she also wrote the series, “Art Inside” about facilitating arts programming in correctional settings.