All the credits couldn’t transfer, but still, I persevered

Prior to my incarceration in 1997, I was a student at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, and I originally thought that I would never be able to complete my degree once incarcerated. I had always loved education, and I was grateful to be able to enroll in college at the Indiana Women’s Prison (IWP) in 1998. At IWP, students worked days and attended classes at night. College programs in the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) were funded with state dollars. …

Is Photography a Social Force for Change and New Stories?

The culmination of the ideas that follow will be presented in an exhibition September 26 — October 2, 2019, at the NYU Gallatin Gallery. For more information, visit


There is danger in a single story. In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk, we learned that there are real consequences of having a single story propagated about a person, demographic or people. A single-story cannot capture the totality of a person, but equally, important a single story can create stereotypes and rob people of dignity. As Adichie said, “it makes…

It’s time to shine a light on the hidden shame of our prison system

An incarcerated person holds onto a fence during the Angola Prison Rodeo at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

In early February, a scene that would warm the heart of any prison-reform advocate unfolded outside the Metropolitan Detention Center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Dozens of protesters, maybe hundreds, crowded the sidewalk outside, braving the cold and bearing signs that read “Enough,” “Cruelty,” and “You Are Loved.” Videos of incarcerated men banging on the windows of their cells trended online. Family members used megaphones to inquire if their jailed loved ones were okay. The response? A resounding “No!”

Local elected officials, including Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who heads the House Judiciary Committee, showed up to voice their outrage. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez fired…

Michelle Daniel Jones

Michelle Daniel Jones is a fourth-year doctoral student in the American Studies program at New York University.

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