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Help Us Redefine Justice in America

Your support today will help Eastern State Penitentiary become a national leader in criminal justice education. Click here to make a gift!

A member of our new Collaboratory for Justice Education takes lessons learned back to her classroom.

Dear Friends,

As President and CEO of Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, I am captivated by the landmark’s profound dualities. Eastern State is both inspiring and challenging—a place of hopeful redemption and immense suffering. The architecture is undeniably majestic, yet designed to impose solitude and remorse. I believe these inherent contradictions offer a potent foundation for meaningful dialogue, education, and deeper understanding of our criminal justice system.

That is the responsibility we have been entrusted with. The United States continues to have one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, impacting nearly two million people, not to mention their families and communities. The issues surrounding mass incarceration – legal, political, economic, cultural – are ancient, divisive, and complex. Many people seek new answers but don’t know where to begin.

And that is why your help is essential. Thanks to the singular role Eastern State has played in redefining justice in America, we are uniquely positioned to meet these challenges, and facilitate a national conversation about prisons, punishment, and the U.S. criminal justice system. Your support allows us to build on Eastern State’s two-century legacy and foster dialogue around essential but difficult questions with no clear answers. These programs are crucial to Eastern State becoming a national education leader. Will you make a generous donation today to help us reach our goal?

 Eastern State President and CEO Kerry Sautner welcomes Hasan Jeffries, Ph.D. as guest for the first ever Justice 101 presentation.

Eastern State has entered a bold new era, and one of the pillars of our future is to become the national leader in justice education. We want you to be part of this new phase of our history. Your generosity allows us to ask big questions and engage our fellow citizens. Together with you and many others, we want to learn and foster meaningful action and productive change – in our communities, our society, and in ourselves. You make it possible for us to innovate, expand and deepen a conversation that is already bearing fruit.

This year we launched Justice 101, a new virtual monthly education series examining the history and impact of the American justice system. By the end of this year, more than 2,000 people, eager to learn, understand, and act will access this innovative and dynamic program that engages scholars from multiple disciplines who are reimagining justice in our nation.

We also welcomed the first participants in The Collaboratory for Justice Education, who bring a wide range of expertise supporting our schools, communities, and families in navigating and understanding our legal system. Our 37 inaugural (and enthusiastic) members, including teachers, experts and community leaders, represent 15 states. All of them share a passion for justice education and generating innovative ways to understand complex societal issues, creating robust educational materials to empower, inform and effect change.

These are just two examples. Eastern State is becoming a national forum for the many voices seeking real change in the American system of justice, incarceration, and punishment. We seek many different perspectives to work towards a more just and fair system where each of us has a voice and shares our story.

With your help, in the days ahead we will expand our existing resources to create powerful online programming; produce effective educational videos and curriculum for use in classrooms across the country; foster national teacher trainings to give educators tools to meet the needs of students at all levels; and expand our on-site programs and events to elevate the visitor experience and grow attendance to this amazing place.

Will you join me today in supporting the critical education work of Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site? Your gift will help put us on the path to achieving our goal of being a National Education Leader in this field.

Thank you for considering my request. Together, we will increase awareness, education and understanding of the criminal justice reform movement and its impact today.


Kerry Sautner, Ed.D.
President and CEO

2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner