Tacoma, Wash. - The University of Puget Sound has been awarded $1.3 million from The Mellon Foundation to fund its groundbreaking project, "Reimagining Justice and Carceral Systems through the Humanities." This transformative initiative will employ humanities approaches to shed light on the experiences of those most affected by criminal and legal systems and expand our crime, law, and justice studies program.

The grant will support the development of new courses and programs that explore the intersection of humanities, criminal legal systems, and social justice. A team of faculty members from across the university will lead the project. Prof. Tanya Erzen, director of crime, law, and justice, is the grant lead, along with Professors Greta Austin, Amy Fisher, Sara Freeman, Jennifer Neighbors, and Renee Sims. Students will have the opportunity to learn about the history of mass incarceration, the impact of racism on the criminal justice system, and the role of the humanities in promoting justice and equality.

"This grant advances Puget Sound's commitment to social justice and empowers us to amplify the voices and experiences of individuals often silenced within our legal and carceral systems," said President Isiaah Crawford. "We are eager to launch this groundbreaking initiative, shaping a future where justice extends beyond mere legal frameworks and embraces the inherent humanity of every person."

In 2019, the university collaborated with the Freedom Education Project Puget Sound to launch a bachelor's degree program at the Washington Corrections Center for Women. This project was made possible thanks to funding from the Mellon Foundation. Puget Sound aims to create a positive impact in the world through the humanities, and this program is a significant step towards achieving that. The program is expected to launch in the Spring of 2024.

The Mellon Foundation is the nation's largest funder of the arts, culture, and humanities. The grant is part of the foundation's Humanities for All Times initiative, which supports innovative humanities curricula that address pressing social justice issues. The University of Puget Sound was one of 10 colleges selected to receive a grant in the second round of funding.

To learn more about Mellon's Humanities for All Times initiative, please visit mellon.org/article/humanities-for-all-times