Creating Art in Prison-Wendy Jason and Carole Alden
On December 3rd 2020, IAHR hosted a pen pal meeting titled "Creating Art in Prison." The meeting was open to all and we had the pleasure of having two guest speakers Carole Alden and Wendy Jason. Carole, a mother of 5, is a returning citizen who is self-taught in fiber art, ceramics, textiles, graphics, and welding. She was incarcerated at the age of 46 after an incident of extreme domestic violence. She was sentenced to a 2nd degree manslaughter charge. Carole currently lives in southern Utah where she is building a house shaped like a deep sea fish.
Wendy is the director of the Justice Arts Coalition which unites teaching artists, arts advocates, and currently and formerly incarcerated artists and allies, harnessing the transformative power of the arts to reimagine justice. This work stems from the premise that art can serve as connective tissue, weaving its way back and forth through prison walls to foster and strengthen relationships between people inside and out.
With 25 years of experience in social services, working in residential treatment, mental health centers, schools, shelters, prisons, and jails in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Florida, Alaska, New Mexico, Maryland, and DC, she understands the myriad challenges confronted by those most impacted by mass incarceration and the root causes of the injustices they face. Wendy is committed to supporting both individual and social change through cultivating relationships grounded in collaboration, trust, authenticity, empathy, and integrity.
Watch the interview below now!
In response to greater public interest in criminal justice issues, IAHR launched a new webinar series, called “Reimagining Criminal Justice in the United States.” During this series, IAHR Director Chuck Feinberg and some board members will be interviewing advocates, practitioners, those directly affected by criminal justice, and those who have studied the issue. For additional information on upcoming interviews: check our website, join our mailing list, or keep an eye on our social media.
Our first guest was Nicole Porter. Nicole is Director of Advocacy at The Sentencing Project where she manages The Sentencing Project’s state and local advocacy efforts on sentencing reform, voting rights, and eliminating racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
Did you miss Nicole's webinar? Click to watch it now! The password is: 4k.%8N#H
Richard N. Van Wickler
On Friday, July 24, 2020, we interviewed Richard N. Van Wickler, who was the Superintendent of the Cheshire County Department of Corrections in Keene, New Hampshire for 27 years. Mr. Van Wickler is a veteran of the United States Army and served in the U.S. Army Reserve for 23 years. Mr. Van Wickler as superintendent of a county jail limited the use of solitary confinement and introduced many humane reforms into the jail.
Here is the recording of that interview.
***This interview officially begins at 10:28!***
Malcolm C. Young
On August 12, 2020, IAHR had the pleasure of interviewing Malcolm C. Young for our 3rd edition of the Reimagining Criminal Justice series. Malcolm C. Young has advocated for individuals in America’s criminal justice system for more than 45 years. During his illustrious career, Malcolm served as a defense attorney at a community defender office in Chicago. Malcolm helped found and was for 19 years the executive director of the Sentencing Project which works for a fair and effective U.S. criminal justice system by producing groundbreaking research to promote reforms in sentencing policy, address unjust racial disparities and practices, and to advocate for alternatives to incarceration. Under Malcolm’s leadership the Sentencing Project became a voice against mass incarceration and for justice reform.
Watch the interview below!
In our 4th edition of the Reimagining Criminal Justice series IAHR had a in depth interview with Tyrone Walker. Tyrone is an associate at the Justice Policy Institute (JPI) which is a national nonprofit organization that changes the conversation around justice reform and advances policies that promote well-being and justice for all people and communities. JPI is dedicated to reducing the use of incarceration and the justice system by promoting fair and effective policies.
While incarcerated, Tyrone met his first mentor during his first month of incarceration when he was 19. This mentor recognized Tyrone’s intellect and aptitude, and he empowered Tyrone to take the steps to overturn his initial sentence, shorten the time he would serve, and get his GED. Tyrone tutored other incarcerated men studying for their GEDs, and he took it upon himself to mentor young men in his facility. Recognized for his leadership abilities, he formally became a mentor in the Young Men Emerging Unit, a program in the D.C. Department of Corrections' Central Treatment Facility, which matched young men with mentors. Through this program, Tyrone and his peers mentored a group of 25 young men between the ages of 18-25. Upon being released after serving 25 years in prison, he completed the Georgetown University Pivot Program, during which he served as a Pivot Fellow with JPI. Through his fellowship and now as a full-time Associate at JPI he utilizes his experience, expertise and a passion for prison reform to advocate for change.
Watch the interview below!