Reclaiming Humanity Through the Humanities in America's Prisons

Prof. Michael DeWilde
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America's prisons house more than 2 million people, over 90 percent of whom will be released. All these prisons lack, to quote a prison official, is "humanity and common sense." In this presentation I provide an overview of a program sponsored by a Kellog Foundation grant that sought to raise the stakes for those of us who champion the humanities as civilizing. We had money for coursework and materials, but also for a venture fund that was at the disposal of the inmates themselves. After their course of study what would they decide to do with relatively significant amout of money available to them?

They will be deciding this question over the course of this summer, and I wish to engage conference participants in a discussion of the value and significance of the humanities in these unusual circumstances.

Keywords: Community Service/Collaboration, Humanities and Prison Reform
Stream: Philosophy, Ethics, Consciousness
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Prof. Michael DeWilde

Associate Prof., Philosophy, Grand Valley State University
Allendale, Michigan, USA

Prof. DeWilde teaches Ethics, Business Ethics, Buddhism, and Service-Learning courses. He is Associate Director of the Business Ethics Center at GVSU, the founder and director of the award-winning "Working Classics" program, and a consultant to local businesses. Currently he has a grant from the Kellogg Foundation to bring a humanities curriculum to an area prison where besides coursework the inmate/participants have access to a sizeable Venture Fund that they themselves determine the use of. DeWilde is interested in the connections between education in the humanities and good decision-making. He holds degrees from William James College and Harvard.

Ref: H06P0554