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Family Life in an Era of Mass Incarceration

Dickinson alumni Christopher Wildeman ’02 and Lauren Porter ’06 will return to campus on Tuesday, Oct. 6, to present a lecture that explores the prison industrial complex and its influence on American families. The lecture, "Family Life in an Era of Mass Incarceration," will begin at 7 p.m. in the Stern Center, Great Room. It is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues as part of its semester-long theme, Inequality and Mass Incarceration in the United States.

Over the past 40 years, incarceration in the U.S. has transitioned from a severe punishment for dangerous or repeat offenders, to a common stage of life for poor, minority men, according to Wildeman, an associate professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell University. He will examine this transition and the sweeping implications of mass incarceration for minority males and their families. Porter, an assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Maryland, will comment on Wildeman’s assessment, using her background in social demography to complement Wildeman's research on the causes and consequences of parental incarceration. 

Wildeman received his Ph.D. in sociology and demography from Princeton University. He has held positions as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Michigan and an associate professor of sociology and a faculty fellow at the Center for Research on Inequalities and the Life Course (CIQLE) at Yale University. He serves as visiting fellow at the Bureau of Justice Statistics in Washington and as senior researcher at the Rockwool Foundation Research Unit in Copenhagen, Denmark, where his research focuses on the links between parental incarceration and child welfare.

Porter received her master’s and Ph.D. in sociology from the University at Albany-SUNY. She is a faculty associate for the University of Maryland Population Research Center, where she investigates how population trends affect incarceration, specifically within neighborhood environments.

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Published September 29, 2015