1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250
UMBC's Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery presents the exhibition Prison Nation, on display from August 22 through October 14. Most prisons and jails across the United States do not allow prisoners to have access to cameras. At a moment when an estimated 2.2 million people are incarcerated in the U.S., 3.8 million people are on probation, and 870,000 former prisoners are on parole, how can images tell the story of mass incarceration when the imprisoned don’t have control over their own representation? How can photographs visualize a reality that disproportionately affects people of color, and, for many, remains outside of view? This exhibition addresses the unique role photography plays in creating a visual record of this national crisis, despite the increasing difficulty of gaining access inside prisons.
Incarceration impacts all of us. Americans, even those who have never been to a prison or had a relative incarcerated, are all implicated in a form of governance that uses prison as a solution to many social, economic, and political problems. Empathy and political awareness are essential to creating systemic change—and through this exhibition, Prison Nation may provoke us to see parts of ourselves in the lives of those on the inside.
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