How Might Humanities Councils Engage with People and Organizations Most Impacted by the Carceral System? 

And How Can We Work Together to Imagine a Truly Just Future?

This spring, Maine Humanities participated in a three-day historic gathering of 24 state humanities councils and their community partners titled “Inside & Out: The Humanities and Mass Incarceration.” Hosted by Illinois Humanities, this landmark event marked a significant step forward in addressing the complex issues surrounding mass incarceration and its impact on communities nationwide.

Maine Humanities’ Meghan Reedy / Glitter Guts Photography

Videography: Tony Santiago | Photography: Glitter Guts Photography


Inside & Out aimed to deepen our collective understanding of the role that the humanities and state humanities councils can play in shedding light on the impacts of mass incarceration, challenging the dehumanizing aspects of the criminal legal system, and fostering pathways to restoration and healing. Bringing together over 150 passionate individuals from diverse backgrounds, the event provided a platform for dialogue, collaboration, and inspiration. Throughout the gathering, attendees engaged in a variety of sessions, workshops, and activities designed to stimulate thought, provoke discussion, and ignite action. Topics ranged from innovative arts programming in correctional facilities to strategies for supporting reentry and rehabilitation initiatives. Experiential sessions offered participants the opportunity to connect on a deeper level and explore creative approaches to addressing the challenges of mass incarceration.