Reprobation as Shared Inquiry: Teaching the Liberal Arts in Prison

One of the reasons I blog less than I used to is that in addition to running this journal I’ve been teaching and organizing a college program at Jessup Correctional Institution. (Although I think it was having a daughter that really sucked the wind out of my sails, blogging-wise.)

Anyway,first page to prove I haven’t been completely unproductive, my collaborator Daniel Levine and I just published an article on the philosophy of punishment that reflects on our experiences at JCI. Here’s the abstract:

Respect for victims requires that we have social systems for punishing and condemning (reproving) serious crimes. But, the conditions of social marginalization and political subordination of the communities from which an overwhelming number of prisoners in the United States come place serious barriers in the face of effective reprobation. Mass incarceration makes this problem worse by disrupting and disrespecting entire communities. While humanities education in the prisons is far from a total solution, it is one way to make reprobation meaningful, so long as the prison classroom is a place where the educators’ values are also put at risk.

If your library doesn’t have a subscription to RPR, you can read an archival copy (which excludes the final formatting and page numbers) through philpapers here.

One response to “Reprobation as Shared Inquiry: Teaching the Liberal Arts in Prison”

  1. […] ​​I’ve always argued that punishment requires mutual responsibility, and that one form of that mutual responsibility is a willingness to both teach and learn. We need to respond to harm with something other than more harm. Georgetown gets this, in part because of the Christian commitment to “visit the prisoner” and the Jesuit ideal of cura personalis, “care for the whole person.” That pedagogical ideal ends up meaning more than just “a sound mind in a sound body.” It means a commitment to serious attention to others, even students and even those we tend to ignore. Ignatius—himself formerly incarcerated—put it this way: “be slow to speak and patient in listening to all.” It’s the model for what we’re trying to do with prison education. […]

Second Opinions