Behind Bars: Ethics and Human Rights in U.S. Prisons
A two-day conference examining human rights and health issues in U.S. prisons.
November 30 - December 1, 2017
Harvard Medical School Campus, Boston, MA
Danielle Allen, PhD
Director, Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University
James Bryant Conant University Professor
The United States leads the world in incarceration. The “War on Drugs” and prioritizing punishment over rehabilitation has led to mass imprisonment, mainly of the nation’s most vulnerable populations: people of color, the economically disadvantaged and undereducated, and those suffering from mental illness. Although these social disparities are striking, the health discrepancies are even more pronounced. What can be done to address this health and human rights crisis?
This conference examined various aspects of human rights and health issues in our prisons. In collaboration with educators, health professionals, and those involved in the criminal justice system—including formerly incarcerated people, advocates, and law enforcement—the conference clarified the issues, explored possible policy and educational responses, and established avenues for action.