Supplanting the Prison Industrial Complex

This panel discussion, hosted by the Wilmette Institute, discusses how, for a half-century now, the United States has undertaken a historically unprecedented experiment with human incarceration with a system of punishment that now locks away millions of people. As most know, the members of the human family that are imprisoned in the United States usually come from the least resourced communities, and from Black and Hispanic communities. This panel discussion considers contemporary incarceration practices in the US, and how these practices might be supplanted by those who believe in the oneness of humanity, and the need to establish just relationships between all people.

Tthe panelists include Derik Smith, a professor in the Department of Literature at Claremont McKenna College in California, and his work focuses on African American literary culture, with a particular interest in poetry.

If you enjoyed this discussion, you may also be interested in our podcast episode featuring Derek Smith: Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 39: Derik Smith

We also hear from Angel M. Solis, an undergraduate student at Columbia University who works at a program that focuses on at-risk youth at Bronx Family Court. Angel was born and raised in the Bronx and has spent ten years in state prison.

Guest Panelist Tyee Griffith is the Manager for Justice Education at the Claremont Colleges. She is a doctoral student in the Political Science and Government department at Claremont Graduate University, and adjunct faculty at Pitzer College in the Political Studies department.

And we hear from Minkah Harmer, a Baha’i honour student at Sweet Briar College in Florida.

If you’re curious to know more about the Wilmette Institute, which hosted this presentation, please visit their website:

You might also be interested in these two Baha’i Blog articles that touch on the topic of prisons, incarceration, and justice:

About the Author

Naysan is the editor of Baha'i Blog and he has worked in various avenues of media for two decades. He’s passionate about using the arts and media to support and explore the teachings of the Baha’i Faith and he has produced and collaborated on popular music projects like the "DawnBreaker Collective" and the successful Ruhi-inspired sequence of "MANA" albums. His experience as a producer for CNN was invaluable while working on a number of special projects for the Baha’i World Centre, including the "Building Momentum" and "Pilgrimage: A Sacred Experience" videos. If there’s a media-related Baha’i project out there, chances are that Naysan was involved with it somehow!

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