Part of "Works of Justice", our series with the PEN America Prison Writing Program
Hosted by Mariame Kaba, activist, organizer, and founder of Project NIA (which advocates the end of youth incarceration) editors and curators of The Long Term: Resisting Life Sentences Working Toward Freedom (Haymarket Press) will read and discuss the narratives of people surviving the effects of long-term incarceration. With Kathy Boudin, Victoria Law, Janos Marton, Sarah Ross, and more.
The title refers to Long Term Offenders—the state’s term for those serving sentences of over sixty years, and the collection brings these too-often silenced voices to light, offering a powerful indictment of the prison-industrial complex from activists, scholars, and those directly surviving and resisting these sentences.
Presented by Housing Works Bookstore Cafe and the PEN America Prison Writing Program, "Works of Justice" is a series exploring the relationship between writing and incarceration, amplifying work by writers in prison, and presenting challenging conversations about criminal justice in the USA.
Dr. Kathy Boudin is the Co-Director and Co-Founder of the Center for Justice at Columbia University. Her work focuses on the causes and consequences of mass incarceration, and the development of strategies to both transform the current criminal justice system and to deal with the day-to-day damage that the system has caused. In prison, she focused on strengthening mother-child relationships across the separation of incarceration, bringing back college to Bedford Hills Correctional Facility after the termination of the Pell grants, and building a community response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Victoria Law is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women, which won the 2009 PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) award. She frequently writes and speaks about the intersections between mass incarceration, gender and resistance. Victoria has over ten years of experience working with writers to shape and revise their works for publication. Since 2003, she has edited Tenacious: Art and Writings by Women in Prison. In addition, she has worked with incarcerated women to develop their writings for other publications. Victoria has also worked with writers outside of prison. She is the co-editor of Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind: Concrete Ways to Support Families in Social Justice Movements and Communities (PM Press 2012) and has worked with other published authors to ensure that their ideas are clearly articulated in ways that engage a wide range of readers.
Janos Marton is a lawyer, activist, and born & raised New Yorker. Janos is the Campaign Manager for the ACLU's Smart Justice Campaign, a national initiative to cut this nation's jail and prison population in half. Before joining the ACLU, he helped launch the #ClosetheWorkhouse campaign in St. Louis, and built the advocacy program at JustLeadershipUSA, where he managed the #CLOSErikers campaign. Janos has also served as Special Counsel to the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, and worked on numerous political campaigns for challengers to the status quo. Janos is a resigned Knicks fan who writes on the intersection of criminal justice and politics.
Sarah Ross is an artist who works in sculpture, video and photo. Her projects use narrative and the body to address spatial concerns as they relate to access, class, anxiety and activism. Sarah also works collaboratively with other artists on projects such as Compass (of the MRCC), Regional Relationships, Chicago Justice Torture Memorials, and Prison and Neighborhood Arts Project. She has co-curated exhibitions at SPACES Gallery, Cleveland, Sea and Space Explorations, Los Angeles, and PS122, New York. She teaches at The School of the Art Institute Chicago and is a co-organizer of the Prison and Neighborhood Arts Project, an arts and humanities initiative at Stateville Prison. Sarah is the recipient of grants from the Propeller Fund, Graham Foundation, University of California Institute for Research in the Arts and the Illinois Art Council. Some of her work has been exhibited in venues such as the Armory, Pasadena, CA; Gallery 727, Los Angeles; PS122, New York; Roots and Culture Gallery, Chicago; Pinkard Gallery, Baltimore; META Cultural Foundation, Romania and the Canadian Center for Architecture, Montreal.