• Prison Literacy

A panel discussion on education in federal, state and local prisons

Thursday, April 8, 2010
The Boston Athenæum
10 1/2 Beacon Street, Boston


Jill McDonough, poet; Steven Spitzer, professor of Sociology, Suffolk University; and Bob Waxler, professor of English, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth present a panel discussion, titled "Prison Literacy," moderated by author, Jack Gantos.

Jill McDonough's first book of poems, Habeas Corpus, was published by Salt Publishing in 2008.  She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Fine Arts Work Center, New York Public Library, and Stanford's Stegner program.  McDonough has taught incarcerated college students through Boston University's Prison Education program since 1999.  Her work appears in Slate and Threepenny Review

Steven Spitzer, Ph.D., professor of Sociology at Suffolk University in Boston, has served as an educator, researcher, and author in the fields of sociology and criminal justice for almost 40 years.  In the last decade, he has focused on the development of emotional literacy programs for men in country, state, and federal prisons.  He is founder of the Jericho Circle Project (JCP), a non-profit organization that helps incarcerated men "flip the script" and "rewrite" their lives.  Currently, he is completing a book on his work behind bars titled, The Accidental Crucible: Healing Men in the Belly of the Beast.

Robert Waxler, Ph.D., co-founded Changing Lives Through Literature (CLTL), a nationally recognized alternative sentencing program for criminal offenders that provides a series of literature seminars.  He has served as Dean of the Division of Continuing Education, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Chairperson of the English Department at UMASS Darmouth.  In addition to several books, he has co-authored Success Stories: Life Skills Through Literature, published by the U.S. Department of Education, and co-edited Changing Lives Through Literature, an anthology from Notre Dame Press.

Jack Gantos is the author of over forty books for young readers.  His books range from the "Rotten Ralph" picture book series to the National Book Award and Newbury Honor Award winning "Joey Pigza" series, to his prison memoir, Hole in My Life, which received a Printz aand Seibert Honor for outstanding young adult literature.  He taught Literature and Creative Writing at Emerson College for twenty years before resigning his position to become a frequent visitor of the Boston Athenæum.

Reservations will be accepted starting March 26, 2010 at 617-720-7600. 

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