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CLJS 307: Prison, Gender & Education

This guide provides resources and guidance related to library services for those supporting FEPPS students.

Putting Incarceration in Context

To better understand the impacts of mass incarceration and the impacts of the carceral system, we need to put it into context. These resources highlight different groups that research, report on, and advocate to minimize imprisonment and criminalization.

  • The Sentencing Project: The Sentencing Project advocates for effective and humane responses to crime that minimize imprisonment and criminalization of youth and adults by promoting racial, ethnic, economic, and gender justice.
  • Prison Policy Initiative: A non-profit, non-partisan Prison Policy Initiative produces research to expose the broader harm of mass criminalization, and then sparks advocacy campaigns to create a more just society.
  • Vera Institue: Founded in 1961 to advocate for alternatives to money bail in New York City, Vera is now a national organization that partners with impacted communities and government leaders for change. With offices in four major cities, and a team of hundreds of advocates, researchers, and policy experts, they work to transform the criminal legal and immigration system so that money doesn’t determine freedom; fewer people are incarcerated; and everyone behind bars is treated with dignity.

How we talk about and report on incarceration and incarcerated people

Understanding incarceration broadly and its intersection with education is an important first step in creating relations with people who are incarcerated and system-impacted. , How we talk about and to people who are incarcerated and system impacts is also crucial to reframing our beliefs and understanding of the carceral system in the United States and globally. Check out these resources to learn more about how to talk about and report on incarceration, incarcerated people, and those impacted by the carceral system.


  • Underground Scholars Language Guide: a guide for communicating with people involved in the carceral system
  • The Language Project: From the Marshall Project, The Language Project seeks to rethink how journalists talk about people impacted by the carceral system. The Marshall Project is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the U.S. criminal justice system.
  • Open Campus: A journalism cooperative that partners with local news to cover higher education, including incarceration and higher ed.
  • Prison Journalism Project: A non-partisan, nonprofit organization that incarcerated writers with the tools and training to establish themselves as credible journalists, so they can meaningfully participate in the decision-making processes that impact them and their communities.


Assisting in Research

The key to assisting people with their research is truly understanding their needs, even when those individuals might be a bit uncertain what they're looking for. This can be challenging under any circumstances, but it's especially challenging when you can't ask for clarification. 

​Closely reading assignments and communications from the students you're assisting can go a long way in identifying what kinds of resources might be most useful to the student.

Types of Sources

In academic research, it's important to be able to distinguish between different types of sources.  These differences often are contextual, meaning that a single source might fit in different categories depending on how you are using it and in what academic discipline you are writing.

Primary sources are the raw materials of scholarship.

Secondary sources report on or interpret primary sources.

Tertiary sources synthesize and present overviews of primary and secondary sources.

Scholarly sources present sophisticated, researched arguments using both primary and secondary sources and are written by experts.

Popular sources aim to inform or entertain and are intended for a general, non-specialized audience.  In academic writing, popular sources most often are analyzed as primary sources.