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In 2018 the Pozen Center launched the Human Rights Lab, creating a unique space on campus where the theory and practice of human rights could productively intersect. For its first five years, under the leadership of Alice Kim, the Lab served as the base for a far-reaching project on mass incarceration and racialized policing.

Today that project continues as Beyond Prisons, under the auspices of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture.

While hosted by the Pozen Center, this group launched several initiatives, including:

  • “Narrating Social Change,” a mixed enrollment course that brought together UChicago students and incarcerated students at Stateville Prison. This is the first time a course of this type has been offered at UChicago.
  • Artists for the People, a fellowship for artists who explore the carceral system.
  • The Mass Incarceration Working Group, a gathering of UChicago faculty, staff, and students seeking new ways to raise awareness about mass incarceration and the unique challenges facing formerly and currently incarcerated individuals seeking higher education.
  •  Monthly educational workshops at Logan Correction Center and Stateville Prison, conducted in partnership with the Prison+Neighborhood Arts/Education Project (PNAP)

A new video features testimony from participants in all of the above programs, including UChicago community members and incarcerated individuals.

This year another mixed enrollment course, “Research Writing, and Mass Incarceration,” will be offered in the spring quarter. Beyond Prisons student staff and interns continue to support PNAP workshops. They are also working to help organize a “Humans of Life Row” exhibition, opening at Bridgeport’s Co-Prosperity Sphere in April, 2024.