America’s prisons are packed. The United States has the lowest violent crime rate, yet it has the world’s highest rate of incarceration, and it jails criminal offenders for longer periods than any other industrialized country. That has led to a national epidemic of overcrowding. Alabama’s prison system, in particular, has been on the verge of a federal takeover due to overcrowding and issues related to it—including the sexual abuse of inmates.
Martha Earwood’s Community Corrections course explores innovative solutions that can help the criminal justice system reduce these problems. But our attitudes are the first and most important thing that must change, she says. The average person gives prison overcrowding and its effects on inmates little thought and less sympathy. “We are stuck in our stereotypes of ‘you did the crime, now do the time,’” explains Earwood, assistant professor in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences Department of Justice Sciences.
What’s the cure for America’s overcrowded prisons? UAB criminal justice students went behind bars and into courtrooms to explore promising solutions. Discover what they experienced while working with inmate mothers and military veterans receiving a second chance — and learn how the projects changed both attitudes and career goals.
Halli Williamson of Oneonta, a business and music student, is working with children in need and their families as an intern with Sozo Children this summer.Rising University of Alabama at Birmingham senior Halli Williamson of Oneonta says it would be impossible to put into words what she has experienced in Kampala, Uganda, during a nine-week internship this summer.
The UAB Gospel Choir member, 22, is volunteering with Sozo Children, a nongovernmental organization with an office in nearby Avondale. She applied for the program and was accepted, and she and 12 other interns raised $5,000 each to take the trip. Sozo has four children’s homes in Kampala, and Williamson is assisting in the group’s work toward The Village Project, which will be a full village with homes, a school, a church and a medical clinic.
“The Right to Decide,” an international poster invitational organized by the group Posters Without Borders, will be on exhibition from Aug. 6-Nov. 14.“The Right to Decide,” an international poster invitational organized by the group Posters Without Borders, will be on exhibition at the University of Alabama at Birmingham from Aug. 6-Nov. 14.
Presented by the UAB College of Arts and Sciences’ Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, the exhibition will feature 62 artists from 25 countries. The artists, including some of the most respected poster artists in the world, have created new posters on the subject of voting rights and fair elections specifically for this exhibition.
The exhibition also includes student posters from university design programs in Russia, Finland, Colombia, Taiwan and five universities from within the United States. Posters Without Borders is organized by Eric Boelts, Antonio Castro H. and UAB Professor of Graphic Design Erin Wright, MFA, from theDepartment of Art and Art History.