Free. Reception to follow.
Historian Jen Manion argues that the penitentiary system in early America exploited racist ideologies, gender norms, sexual desire, and antipathy towards the poor to justify its existence and expansion. The use of incarceration grew as women, enslaved people, and indentured servants—those previously with no legal standing— increasingly claimed their own right to life, liberty, and happiness.
In this pattern, Liberty’s Prisoners argues, we see a precursor to the dramatic growth of the U.S. prison system in the last 40 years.
Dr. Jen Manion is Associate Professor of History at Connecticut College.
This event is part of Eastern State's ongoing Searchlight Series of events addressing issues in contemporary corrections. The Searchlight Series discussions take place the first Tuesday of every month, free and open to the public. No reservations required.
The Searchlight Series is supported in part by a grant from The George W. Rentschler Foundation.