The program hopes to use the awarded grant to pursue its dual-ended goals, seeking to benefit both the incarcerated students and the participating professors, graduate students, and undergraduate volunteers of the Cornell community.
There is no shortage of research detailing the extent of American mass incarceration and the impact it has on the people and communities most affected, Western said, but he found that the analytical data often lacked a human element.
“We would hope, in an ideal world, that after this event, Cornell students would feel inspired to speak out and to write to lawmakers to end mass incarceration as we know it in the United States,” said Chris Elliott ’20.
Martin discussed his experiences in Rikers Island, a New York jail complex with a reputation for abysmal conditions and brutal treatment of inmates. He cited the physical abuse of prisoners, solitary confinement and the withholding of food and medication.