The Department of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan, and Dr. Heather Ann Thompson (DAAS, Residential Collage, and History), launched the Carceral State Project in 2016 to bring together all faculty, students, and community partners engaged in research, teaching, and advocacy related to containment, control, criminalization, and punishment in the United States and the World.
In recent years the Carceral State–broadly defined and as it exists in both in the United States and internationally–has become the subject of a particularly pressing and intensive public policy discussions as well exciting and robust scholarly inquiries into its historical, ideological, legal, psychological, economic, social, political and artistic origins as well as implications. Scholars from an increasing number of disciplines have sought to understand what it means for a society to be governed via myriad apparatus of containment and control and by a newly punitive ethos—a belief that punishment is necessary to protect the public good. The Carceral State Project will serve as a hub for such scholarly inquiries and policy as well as advocacy interventions taking place locally, nationally, and internationally. This Project intends to be interdisciplinary, cross-disciplinary, and global, and it welcomes input from all interested departments, organizations, and individuals.