Mass Incarceration & The War on Drugs (November 2017)


Mass Incarceration & The War on Drugs (November 2017)


Understanding & Moving Beyond the Current Prison Crisis

Mass incarceration is the racial justice issue of our time. The U.S. incarcerates more people per capita than any country in the world, and incarceration rates are acutely and disproportionately concentrated in communities of color.  What are we going to do about it?  

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Tuesdays, November 7 to December 12 || 7:00-9:00 pm
Location: Hatch || 2420 NE Sandy Blvd
Six weeks $199 || Space is limited to 25 students || Scholarships Available

In this course, we'll learn about the history and impact of mass incarceration - the dramatic expansion of the US prison system over the past 40 years. We'll also think deeply about what we can do individually and collectively to respond to mass incarceration within Oregon. Note: Lectures will be delivered via podcast previous to class meetings. We’ll spend class time discussing the lecture material and co-creating a class project. Let’s work together to end mass incarceration in our community.

Week 1: Mass Incarceration 101. What is mass incarceration? What groups are most impacted by it? What has been its impact in Oregon?

Week 2: Mass Incarceration in Context. Why did mass incarceration emerge? How is it related to the War on Drugs? What is its relationship to slavery and the history of racial exclusion in the US? 

Week 3: Trauma, Crime, and Violence. What are the historical conditions that led to spiking crime and violence in the 1980s and 1990s?  What are the personal experiences leading individuals to commit violence?  What is the impact of rising incarceration rates on communities in which they are concentrated? 

Week 4: Lived Histories of Incarceration. How has mass incarceration shaped the lives of those within US prisons? How has it impacted their romantic partners, children, and families?

Week 5: The Political Economy of Punishment. Are prisons big business? Who have been the biggest winners and losers? What is the role of private prisons?

Week 6: Moving Forward: What are the most promising interventions into the incarceration crisis? What can be done to reduce the prison population and transform the criminal justice system?

Nicole Lindahl.jpeg

Nicole Lindahl has worked to dismantle mass incarceration for the past 20 years. Most recently, she earned her PhD from UC Berkeley researching the life histories of people who were convicted of violent crimes and served long sentences in California.