MAKING AMENDS FEATURES SIX MEN INCARCERATED AT THE OREGON STATE PENITENTIARY. THEY SHARE STORIES ABOUT THEIR STRUGGLE TO ATONE FOR THE ACTIONS THAT BROUGHT THEM TO PRISON.
For several weeks in the early part of 2020, Professor Steve Herbert taught a class inside the Oregon State Penitentiary. The course explored what it means to do harm to others, and what it can mean to try to make things right. It also explored whether the punishment system in the United States — which incarcerates more people than any society in history — promotes genuine accountability for criminal offenses. Besides the class, Professor Herbert interviewed several of the class participants in one-on-one conversations, to learn more about their individual stories, and about the particular challenges they face in their efforts to make amends for their past wrongs.
Making Amends provides an opportunity to hear voices too commonly ignored in conversations about our criminal justice policy. It also challenges listeners to consider how we might better ensure greater accountability for those who commit wrongs. It asks: If we wish to see as many prisoners as possible pursue genuine accountability, do our current practices of punishment help us achieve that goal?