What is the impact of solitary confinement on individuals? What does it mean to "re-enter" society after years or decades in prison? What are key issues surrounding sentencing and prison reforms? On July 25, 2022, the Pulitzer Center and the Washington University in St. Louis Prison Education Project (PEP) hosted this virtual community conversation about these and related issues in tandem with the St. Louis performances of The BOX.
Speakers for the conversation include:
Brandon Tauszik, a photographer and filmmaker based in California who created the Pulitzer Center-supported multimedia digital documentary project, Facing Life, in partnership with journalist, author, and educator Pendarvis Harshaw. Tauszik and Harshaw focus on several individuals re-acclimating to the world outside prison. As the project states, the duo sought to provide greater understanding of the hurdles people face when they re-enter society and “a glimpse at yet another failure of the justice system—incarceration that only leaves the individual further behind than the rest of society.”
Harvey Galler, a co-founder of the STL Reentry Collective. Galler has spent most of his adult life in and out of correctional facilities across the country. Since his release from confinement in 2019, he has worked with other system-impacted and non-impacted people in the community to change the landscape of re-entry. Galler also is working on a docuseries and a workshop series addressing the barriers formerly incarcerated individuals face as well as their successes.
Amy Breihan, a co-director with the Missouri office of the Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center (RSMJC), a nonprofit civil rights law firm that fights for racial, gender, social, and economic justice through litigation on behalf of people involved in the carceral and criminal legal systems. She has extensive trial, appellate, and mediation experience and has prioritized public interest work throughout her career. Since 2012, Breihan has been part of a team of advocates seeking second-chance sentences for Missouri youth sentenced to die behind bars. She also provided direct representation to those clients and worked for changes in the law to end juvenile life-without-parole sentences.