Rethinking Punishment

Projects linked to the Rethinking Punishment initiative work to share the stories of hope and redemption of people who have served or are serving long prison sentences, and to find new ways to frame problems of violence and mass incarceration in order to allow politicians and the public to consider meaningful reforms of the legal system.

In association with the Law, Societies, and Justice Program

Projects linked to the Rethinking Punishment initiative work to share the stories of hope and redemption of people who have served or are serving long prison sentences, and to find new ways to frame problems of violence and mass incarceration in order to allow politicians and the public to consider meaningful reforms of the legal system.

In association with the Law, Societies, and Justice Program

Restorative Justice Project

UW faculty and students are researching alternatives to mass incarceration—and working to implement them in Washington State. Programs based in restorative justice, which bring responsible parties and survivors together to repair the harms caused by crime, offer one such alternative. In June 2016, and Prof. Katherine Beckett and law student Martina Kartman published a report, Violence, Mass Incarceration and Restorative Justice: Promising Possibilities, which describes and analyzes various restorative justice programs. Prof. Beckett and Kartman hope to implement restorative justice circles based on these models at three prisons at in Washington State in Spring 2017, with trainings for facilitators starting in February.

Mixed Enrollment & University Beyond Bars

In partnership with the Law, Societies, and Justice Program, the Center for Human Rights helped launch a unique mixed enrollment course led by Professor Steve Herbert, in which UW students study alongside prisoner participants in the University Beyond Bars program at Washington State Reformatory in Monroe, WA. Continuing support for this project is generously provided by the Timothy Richard Wettack Endowed Fund.

Read news and student reflections from the mixed enrollment program.

Rethinking Punishment Radio Project

In collaboration with Cited Podcast, the Rethinking Punishment Radio Project works to share the life stories of people who have served or are serving long prison sentences, and to provide sociological and historical context for contemporary criminal justice issues. These stories have been broadcast on KUOW and over 100 campus and community radio stations in North America.

“The Story Behind America’s Mass Incarceration Experiment”In the late 1960s, criminologists like Todd Clear predicted America would soon start closing its prisons. They couldn’t have been more wrong. Dan Denvir from The Dig and Katherine Beckett from the University of Washington Center for Human Rights join Cited Podcast host Sam Fenn to tell the story of mass incarceration in America. They talk to Rutgers criminologist Todd Clear on what we’ve learned from this “grand social experiment,” poet Reginald Dwayne Betts about redemption and violent crime, and Larry Krasner, a progressive lawyer who has shaken up a DA’s race in Philadelphia.

“Exiled”Sex offenders are the most reviled and abused criminals in prison. But eventually, most of them will get out. So, what happens next? On this episode, you’ll hear the story of Chris Dum, a doctoral student who rented a room in the The Boardwalk — upstate New York’s infamous ‘Sex Offender Motel.’ This episode includes an interview with Rethinking Punishment co-Director, Katherine Beckett, discussing how criminal justice policy and research has changed since the 1980s, and what a Trump presidency will mean for reform efforts.

“Superpredators Revisited”: The first edition of the Rethinking Punishment Radio Project debuted on February 25, 2014, as the premier episode of the Cited Podcast. “Superpredators Revisited” tells the story of Jeff Coats, who  was 14 years old when he kidnapped David Grenier and stole his car in Tacoma, Washington. 20 years later, against the backdrop of shifting sociological perspectives on crime, punishment, and rehabilitation, Jeff and David reflect on this crime and how it changed their lives.

Project Leaders