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States of Incarceration is created by over 800 people in 18 states, and growing. We explore the roots of mass incarceration in our own communities—to open national dialogue on what should happen next.
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state:
Michigan
Local history:
Genius Blossoms Behind Prison Walls
Can Prisons Be Sites of Culture and Leisure
Michgan State University | Citizens for Prison Reform
National Traveling Venue:
Michigan History Center
702 W Kalamazoo St Lansing, MI 48915
September 8, 2018May 19, 2019

See the exhibit in Connecticut and Michigan!

States of Incarceration will be on display at the Michigan History Center, the Hartford Public Library, and the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at UConn in Storrs, CT.

For local programming information, click here.

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Michigan: Genius Blossoms Behind Prison Walls
Can Prisons Be Sites of Culture and Leisure
Michgan State University | Citizens for Prison Reform

Opening in Jackson, Michigan in 1839, the State Prison of Southern Michigan (SPSM) was once known as the largest walled prison in the world. During the first half of the twentieth century, SPSM created sports teams, secular and religious musical groups, and several art programs that produced locally and nationally know athletes and artists, placing them at the forefront of the movement to make prisons sites of education and rehabilitation.

Leisure activities, such as pencil drawing, oil painting, and writing workshops fostered a sense of pleasure and creativity, collective and individual empowerment, ingenuity, self-discovery, and education. In spite of this, culture and leisure have been absent from current conversations about the prison's nearly 200-year history.

The work of incarcerated artists was featured in local and national newspapers magazines, at prestigious New York City art exhibits, and in The Spectator, a newspaper operated by detainees from the inside. This project reconsiders the history of SPSM through the lens of the art and writing of its incarcerated artists.

Our Point of View

We are a group of undergraduate students who studied the multifaceted, but largely unknown, history of Michigan's prisons. Our focus was Michigan's first penal institution and the ways that formal and informal educational and leisure activities were possible paths towards pleasure and self-discovery. We engaged in meaningful conversatins with local historians, prison activists and artists, and others directly impacted by Michigan's carceral state on local and national histories of crime and punishment, prison education and rehabilitation, and the treatment of incarcerated bodies.

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Michigan: Genius Blossoms Behind Prison Walls    Michgan State University
Can Prisons Be Sites of Culture and Leisure
Michigan: Genius Blossoms Behind Prison Walls
Can Prisons Be Sites of Culture and Leisure
  Michgan State University

National Exhibition Venue    Michigan History Center

Public Dialogues and Events
| September 8, 2018 – May 19, 2019

See Full Exhibition & Events Schedule
Sep 8, 2018
Ten incarcerated men who are members of a prison boxing team. Five men are standing with five kneeling in front of them. All of them are shirtless and wearing boxing shorts and shoes. In the background is a boxing ring. They are inside of a gym.

The 1937 boxing team from Ionia Correctional Facility. Courtesy of: Archives of Michigan

Ten incarcerated men who are members of a prison boxing team. Five men are standing with five kneeling in front of them. All of them are shirtless and wearing boxing shorts and shoes. In the background is a boxing ring. They are inside of a gym.

The 1937 boxing team from Ionia Correctional Facility. Courtesy of: Archives of Michigan

Saturday, September 8, 2018

MI: States of Incarceration Opening and Keynote

Description: 

Dr. Heather A. Thompson from the University of Michigan will talk about her 2017 Pulitzer Prizing winning book, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy. Thompson has written extensively on the history of policing, mass incarceration and the current criminal justice system.read more…

Time: 
1 PM
Venue: 

Michigan History Center

702 W Kalamazoo St.

Lansing, MI 48915

Oct 24, 2018
Red and grey logo for the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Red and grey logo for the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

MI: The State of Juvenile Justice in Michigan

Description: 

In celebration of Youth Justice Awareness Month, join the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency as they discuss the current state of youth incarceration in Michigan. For more information and to rsvp, click here.read more…

Time: 
5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Venue: 

Michigan History Center

703 W. Kalamazoo St.

Lansing, MI 48915

Nov 30, 2018
An image of Aaron T. Kinzel from the chest up in a grey suit jacket, white shirt, and blue tie. He is sitting in front of a library bookshelf.

Aaron T. Kinzel, lecturer in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

An image of Aaron T. Kinzel from the chest up in a grey suit jacket, white shirt, and blue tie. He is sitting in front of a library bookshelf.

Aaron T. Kinzel, lecturer in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Over Eight Decades Lost in the Carceral State (Present, Past, and Future)

Description: 

In this combined presentation and panel discussion, Aaron T. Kinzel, lecturer in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, will provide information on and insight into America's carceral state and mass incarceration. Kinzel will then moderate a discussion with returning citizens about their current work in criminal justice reform, their personal connection to the criminal justice system, and their outlooks for the future.

Panelists:

  • Mary Heinen-McPherson, Soros Justice Fellow and the Co-Founder of the Prison Creative Arts Project at the University of Michigan
  • Cozine Welch, published author and the Managing Editor of the University of Michigan's Prison Create Arts Project,
  • ...read more…
Time: 
6 PM to 8 PM
Venue: 

Michigan History Center

703 W. Kalamazoo St.

Lansing, MI 48915

Dec 13, 2018
Kyle Kaminski wearing a grey suit and paisley tie in maroon in front of a wall.

Kyle Kaminski, Offender Success (Reentry) Administrator with the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Kyle Kaminski wearing a grey suit and paisley tie in maroon in front of a wall.

Kyle Kaminski, Offender Success (Reentry) Administrator with the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

MI: Understanding the Purpose of the Michigan Department of Corrections

Description: 

Kyle Kaminski, Offender Success (Reentry) Administrator with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC), will cover trends in the corrections in Michigan, as well as the approach and core programming used by MDOC to prepare those released to return to the community. The presentation will focus on the importance of education (GED, vocational, and post-secondary) and the goals of the modern MDOC, which include employment for returning citizens and the removal of post-release barriers.

Kaminski oversee education services, core programming, and reentry services. He also works within the Director's Office of the MDOC, where he is involved in carious special projects...read more…

Time: 
5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Venue: 

Michigan History Center

703 W. Kalamazoo St.

Lansing, MI 48915

States of Incarceration is created by over 800 people in 18 states, and growing. We explore the roots of mass incarceration in our own communities—to open national dialogue on what should happen next. Click on a state to learn more.

States of Incarceration is created by over 800 people in 18 states, and growing. We explore the roots of mass incarceration in our own communities—to open national dialogue on what should happen next. Click on a state to learn more.

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