Join the Human Rights Lab as Crown Family School Assistant Professor Reuben Jonathan Miller discusses his new book, Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration. The conversation will be followed by a moderated Q&A session.
We’ll be raffling off copies of the book at this event! Join us for your chance to secure a copy.
Reuben Jonathan Miller, author of Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration; Assistant Professor, Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice
Colette Payne, Reclamation Project Director, Women’s Justice Institute
Kilroy Watkins, Human Rights Lab Community Fellow, Education Justice Project Re-Entry Advisory Board member, and torture survivor
Alice Kim, Director of Human Rights Practice, Human Rights Lab
Durrell Washington, PhD Student, Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice; Graduate Assistant, Human Rights Lab
About the Book:
Each year, more than half a million Americans are released from prison and join a population of twenty million people who live with a felony record.
Reuben Miller, a former chaplain at the Cook County Jail in Chicago and now a sociologist studying mass incarceration, spent years alongside prisoners, ex-prisoners, their friends, and their families to understand the lifelong burden that even a single arrest can entail. What his work revealed is a simple, if overlooked truth: life after incarceration is its own form of prison. The idea that one can serve their debt and return to life as a full-fledge member of society is one of America’s most nefarious myths. Recently released individuals are faced with jobs that are off-limits, apartments that cannot be occupied and votes that cannot be cast.
As The Color of Law exposed about our understanding of housing segregation, Halfway Home shows that the American justice system was not created to rehabilitate. Parole is structured to keep classes of Americans impoverished, unstable, and disenfranchised long after they’ve paid their debt to society.
Informed by Miller’s experience as the son and brother of incarcerated men, the book captures the stories of the men, women, and communities fighting against a system that is designed for them to fail. It is a poignant and eye-opening call to arms that reveals how laws, rules, and regulations extract a tangible cost not only from those working to rebuild their lives, but also our democracy. As Miller searchingly explores, America must acknowledge and value the lives of its formerly imprisoned citizens.
About the Author:
Reuben Jonathan Miller is an Assistant Professor in the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. He is a sociologist, criminologist, and a social worker who studies and writes about race, democracy, and the social life of the city. He has been a member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey; a fellow at the New America Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation; and a visiting scholar at the University of Texas at Austin and Dartmouth College. A native son of Chicago, he lives with his wife and children on the city’s Southside.
Presented in partnership with the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture and the Seminary Co-op Bookstores.