PHILADELPHIA PA – Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, the now-unused Philadelphia jail once billed as the most famous and expensive prison in the world, is partnering during May and June (2012) to present a discussion series that focuses on crime and contemporary correctional issues, and will be held at the site, 2027 Fairmount Ave. The events are open to the public; tickets for each program cost $5, and can be ordered online, here.
Scheduled for Mondays at 6 p.m. in what is being called “The Searchlight Series” are:
- On May 21 – “From Robben Island to Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei: Prisons as Tools for Political Repression”
Lantern Theater Company will be part of a discussion of prisons as tools in political oppression, and how these themes have been addressed covertly by artists living under repressive regimes. This event is organized in conjunction with the company’s production of “The Island” by South African playwright Athol Fugard. His play based loosely on Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment on Robben Island under the apartheid government of South Africa. Aaron Levy of the Slought Foundation joins the talk to describe the Chinese government’s detention of political artist Ai Weiwei in 2011.
- June 4 – “Lynne Abraham and the Case for a Robust, But Fair, Criminal Justice System”
Lynne Abraham served as Philadelphia’s district attorney for 18 years. During that time she gained a national reputation as a strong proponent for law enforcement, the courts, and the prison system in their roles keeping communities safe from crime and violence.
- June 18 – “The Social Cost of Imprisonment”
Marc Mauer discusses the impact of changing drug and “tough on crime” policies on poor and minority communities in the U.S. Mauer will analyze current prospects for reform and their potential for diminishing the cost and scale of incarceration. He will also examine the social impact of the American criminal justice system as well as possible, and hopefully more effective public safety strategies.
Photo from Panoramio