Mass Incarceration Working Group

The Mass Incarceration Working Group explores how the University of Chicago can address social injustices caused by mass incarceration and begin to imagine how we might create pathways to higher education for system-impacted individuals and communities. The group aims to raise awareness about mass incarceration and, in particular, to make visible the unique challenges and the stigma facing formerly and currently incarcerated individuals seeking higher education.

Founded in 2019, participants include faculty, staff, and students in the College, the Division of the Humanities, the Division of the Social Sciences, the School of Social Science Administration, the Law School, and other campus divisions and units.

The group explores how the campus community can foster a sense of belonging and full participation of students, staff, and faculty who may have a history of incarceration, as well as those affected by the incarceration of family members.

The group also hosts short-term residencies with visiting scholars who are doing related work at other universities, including Michelle Jones on October 30 and 31


The Mass Incarceration Working Group is convened by Alice Kim, Director of the Human Rights Lab, and Tracye Matthews, Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture. The project is backed by the Office of the Provost.

For more information, please contact Lab Graduate Fellow Noelle Petrowski.