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Book Talk with Michelle Daniel Jones: “Who Would Believe a Prisoner?”

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October 23, 2023 @ 7:00 pm 8:00 pm

Join us on Monday October 23 at 7 p.m. for a book talk with historian and artist Michelle Daniel Jones. This program is brought to you in collaboration with Kresge College and Bookshop Santa Cruz. 

Daniel Jones will be speaking about Who Would Believe a Prisoner? Indiana Women’s Carceral Institutions, 1848 – 1920, a collection of essays co-edited with Elizabeth Nelson. The book offers a new history of Indiana’s carceral institutions for women written by Daniel Jones and ten of her incarcerated and formerly incarcerated colleagues at the Indiana Women’s Prison. Books will be available for purchase at the event by Bookshop Santa Cruz. All events and exhibitions at the IAS are free and open to the public. 

Who Would Believe is like nothing ever produced in historical literature: a document that is at once a shocking revelation of the roots of America’s first prison for women, and also a meditation on incarceration itself. The writers worked under conditions of sometimes extreme duress, excavating documents, navigating draconian limitations on what information incarcerated scholars could see or access, and grappling with the unprecedented challenges stemming from co-authors living on either side of the prison walls. The result is a groundbreaking chronicle of the Indiana Reformatory Institute for Women and Girls, founded in 1873 as the first separate prison for women in the United States. 

“The work of the Indiana Women’s Prison History Project, as the collective of incarcerated scholars came to be known, is an excellent example of what research can look like when it is led by those directly impacted by the systems and institutional structures they are researching.” ~ Laura Ciolkowski, Antipode

To learn more about the project and the authors, visit

About Michelle Daniel Jones

Michelle Daniel (Jones) is a fourth-year doctoral student in the American Studies program at New York University. She is interested in excavating the collateral consequences of criminal convictions for people and families directly impacted by mass incarceration. Michelle’s advocacy extends beyond the classroom through collaborations and opportunities to speak truth to power. While incarcerated, she presented legislative testimony on a reentry alternative she created that was approved by the Indiana State Interim Committee on the Criminal Code. As a subject matter expert, she serves in the development and operation of task forces, think tanks and initiatives to reduce harm and end mass incarceration and has joined the boards of Worth Rises and Correctional Association of New York and advisory boards of the Urban Institute and A Touch of Light.

We are pleased to be part of National Arts & Humanities Month in October.

100 Panetta Avenue
Santa Cruz, California 95060 United States
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