Reuben Jonathan Miller PhD, the author of "Halfway Home: Race, Punishment and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration," is the keynote speaker for EMU's Academic and Creative Excellence (ACE) Festival.  

ACE Festival keynote speaker Reuben Jonathan Miller to address mass incarceration

Reuben Jonathan Miller PhD, the author of Halfway Home: Race, Punishment and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration, is the keynote speaker for EMU’s Academic and Creative Excellence (ACE) Festival.  

Join us Wednesday, April 20, at the following events in Lehman Auditorium (masks are required):

  • A panel discussion on social justice and mass incarceration at 10:10 a.m. facilitated by CJP students Iman Shabazz and Addison Tucker, and community leader Hannah Wittmer. In-person only.
  • A public lecture at 7 p.m. In-person and view the livestream on EMU’s Facebook page.

Miller’s visit is made possible by the collaboration of the following co-sponsors: Provost’s Office, the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, Convocation, EMU’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Language and Literature programs, and the Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice.

As a chaplain at the Cook County Jail in Chicago and as a sociologist studying mass incarceration, Reuben Jonathan Miller has spent years alongside prisoners, formerly incarcerated people, their families, and their friends to understand the lifelong burden that even a single arrest can entail. What his work reveals is a simple, if overlooked truth: life after incarceration is its own form of prison.

Miller’s new book, Halfway Home: Race, Punishment and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration, is a portrait of the many ways mass incarceration reaches into American life, sustaining structural racism and redrawing the boundaries of our democracy. Drawing from fifteen years of research, over 250 in-depth interviews with citizens whose lives have been touched by the criminal justice system, and his own experience as the son and brother of incarcerated Black men, Miller shows how the American carceral system was not created to rehabilitate. Instead he reveals how its design keeps classes of Americans impoverished, unstable, and disenfranchised long after they’ve paid their debt to society.

Miller is an assistant professor at the University of Chicago in the School of Social Service Administration. Before coming to Chicago, he was an assistant professor of social work at the University of Michigan, a faculty affiliate with the Populations Studies Center, the Program for Research on Black Americans, and the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies. He has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey; a fellow at New America and the Rockefeller Foundation; and a visiting scholar at the University of Texas at Austin and Dartmouth College. A native son of Chicago, he lives with his wife and children on the city’s South Side.