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Jarrod Shanahan – Skyscraper Jails

February 8, 2023 @ 12:15 pm - 1:30 pm  |  Humanities 1, Room 210


How did a campaign to end the humanitarian catastrophe of New York City’s Rikers Island penal colony culminate in the planned creation of skyscraper jails across the city, with no closure of Rikers in sight? The tragic story of recent jail reform efforts in New York City is at once novel, and indicative of broader trends in “humanitarian” jail reform, growing activism big big philanthropy in the supposed reform of mass incarceration, and the evolution of non-profit organizations promoting the extension of the carceral state — all conducted under the auspices of “social justice.” Tracing the contours of this new moment of carceral boosterism, Dr. Jarrod Shanahan will present on a work in progress, Skyscraper Jails, co-authored with criminal justice scholar Dr. Zhandarka Kurti. This work draws from extensive archival research, years of collaborative scholarship, and participation in the campaign against the new jails.

Prof. ShanahanJarrod Shanahan is an activist-scholar and assistant professor of criminal justice at Governors State University in University Park, IL. He is the author of Captives: How Rikers Island Took New York City Hostage (Verso, 2022), co-author with Zhandarka Kurti of States of Incarceration: Rebellion, Reform, and America’s Punishment System (Field Notes/Reaktion, 2022), and an editor of Treason to Whiteness is Loyalty to Humanity (Verso, 2022), a Noel Ignatiev reader.


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The Center for Cultural Studies hosts a weekly Wednesday colloquium featuring work by faculty and visitors. We gather at 12:00 PM, with presentations beginning at 12:15 PM.

Staff assistance is provided by The Humanities Institute.


February 8, 2023
12:15 pm - 1:30 pm


Humanities 1, Room 210
1156 high st
Santa cruz, CA 95060 United States
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