Prisons and Poetics: Reginald Dwayne Betts and Craig Haney, January 26, 2021

Visualizing Abolition: Prisons and Poetics with Reginald Dwayne Betts and Craig Haney

Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Online Event

The Institute of the Arts and Sciences and The Humanities Institute are pleased to present a poetry reading and conversation with award-winning American poet Reginald Dwayne Betts and renowned social psychologist Craig Haney, moderated by Professor Gina Dent. The event is part of the IAS Visualizing Abolition Series and The Humanities Institute's yearlong series on Memory.

Prisons and Poetics
w/ Reginald Dwayne Betts and Craig Haney

Featured Music Video - Malcolm-Jamal Warner
January 26, 2021, 4-5:30 p.m.

Visualizing Abolition is a series of online events organized by Professor Gina Dent, Feminist Studies and Dr. Rachel Nelson, Director, Institute of the Arts and Sciences. The events feature artists, activists, and scholars united by their commitment to the vital struggle for prison abolition.  The events accompany Barring Freedom, an exhibition of contemporary art on view at San José Museum of Art October 30, 2020-June 2021 and Solitary Garden, a public art project about mass incarceration and solitary confinement is on view at UC Santa Cruz. 

Reginald Dwayne Betts is an American poet, memoirist, and teacher. His work in public defense, his years of advocacy, and Betts’s own experiences as a teenager in maximum security prisons uniquely positions him to speak to the failures of the current criminal justice system and present encouraging ideas for change. A widely requested speaker, Betts often gives talks about his own experience, detailing his trek from incarceration to Yale Law School and the role that grit, perseverance and literature played in his success. In addition, he has given lectures on topics ranging from mass incarceration to contemporary poetry and the intersection of literature and advocacy. Named a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow and a 2018 NEA Fellow, Betts poetry has been long praised. His writing has generated national attention and earned him a Soros Justice Fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship, a Ruth Lily Fellowship, an NAACP Image Award, and New America Fellowship. Betts has been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and the Washington Post, as well as being interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air, The Travis Smiley Show and several other national shows.

Craig Haney is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, noted for his work on the study of capital punishment and the psychological impact of imprisonment and prison isolation. Haney has published four books and well over a hundred research and law review articles about the harmful psychological effects of incarceration and advocating for fundamental criminal justice reforms. His work as an expert witness establishing the unconstitutionality of conditions of confinement has given him rare access to numerous prisons, jails, and solitary confinement units throughout the country, in state systems as diverse as those in New York and Mississippi. Haney's research and testimony has been cited in a number of landmark legal cases that changed individual prisons, prison systems, and correctional practices. For example, his testimony about the harmful effects of prison overcrowding in California was central in the United States Supreme Court's Brown v. Plata (2011) ruling that reduced the state's prison population by 40,000 persons.

Visualizing Abolition is organized by UC Santa Cruz Institute of the Arts and Sciences in collaboration with San José Museum of Art and Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery. The series has been generously funded by the Nion McEvoy Family Trust, Ford Foundation, Future Justice Fund, Wanda Kownacki, Peter Coha, James L. Gunderson, Rowland and Pat Rebele, Porter College, UCSC Foundation, and annual donors to the Institute of the Arts and Sciences.

Partners include: Howard University School of Law, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, Jessica Silverman Gallery, Indexical, The Humanities Institute, University Library, University Relations, Institute for Social Transformation, Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery, Porter College, the Center for Cultural Studies, the Center for Creative Ecologies, and Media and Society, Kresge College.