About PJI

The Antioch College Prison Justice Initiative (PJI) was founded as an Independent Group of ComCil (Community Council) in 2014-15 by Dr. Emily Steinmetz and a group of dedicated students and staff. It soon became one of the most successful models at Antioch for combining meaningful action for justice with dedicated teaching and learning. Now in its sixth year, PJI is a collaborative of Antioch College faculty, students, staff and the Coretta Scott King Center for Intellectual and Cultural Freedom (CSKC).

Community engagement is at the heart of PJI and has been the engine of prison justice action, new initiatives, student-faculty research opportunities, oral history projects, and service learning. PJI efforts include classes, community actions, service projects, cooperative education opportunities, cultural collaborations, programs and partnerships across Ohio and nationally.

Through these efforts, PJI works to support, render visible, uplift and transform individuals, families and communities impacted by incarceration. PJI invites understanding and participation in how all of us are implicated in the carceral state and interconnected in the work towards anti-racist liberatory futures. PJI is committed to developing dialogue and understanding about the impacts of the criminal justice system. Through collaboration between students, staff, faculty, and the Yellow Springs community, PJI activities connect our community to meaningful engagement with incarcerated people, issues relating to mass incarceration, the reintegration process of formerly-incarcerated people into society, and human rights violations.

Some of the current and recent projects of the PJI, include:

  • The Prison Justice Library books-to-prisoners program.
  • ANTH 380 Inside Out course – as part of the national Prison Exchange Program, this course is offered at Dayton Correctional Institution with Antioch College and incarcerated students. 
  • States of Incarceration National Dialogue – Ohio: Life Sentences: Death Penalty on the Installment Plan? How Much Time is Enough Time? Featuring action research of Antioch’s PJI led by Dr. Emily Steinmetz in national exhibition.
  • The Symbolic Interruption – a newspaper written by students of the Inside Out class of Antioch College and Dayton Correctional Institute.

To learn more about our efforts or get involved, email the Prison Justice Initiative convener, Luisa Bieri: lbieri@antiochcollege.edu

Sign up for our mailing list at: prison-justice-community-group@antiochcollege.org

A note on our logo: the chinese written character qiú depicts a person inside a box to indicate the concept of prisoner or incarceration. The Antioch College logo is a combination of the letter “A”, the three primary shapes and the Vitruvian man.


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