Category Archives: events

Peace Studies Lecture: Educational and Restorative Justice–April 15!

Helen Coast Hayes Peace Lecture

A WVU Forum on Restorative and Educational Justice

April 15, 2015

7:30 Rhododendron Room, Mountainlair.

Two speakers will lead a conversation about higher ed in prisons & the school to prison pipeline. Please come & spread the word! 

Lori Pompa

Lori Pompa has been on the faculty of the Department of Criminal Justice at Temple University since 1992. She is Founder and Director of the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. As a Soros Justice Senior Fellow, Lori Pompa developed Inside-Out into a national model of transformative pedagogy. She has taken more than 7,000 students into prisons and has worked with men and women inside prison since 1985. She also served as Director of the College of Liberal Arts Office of Experiential Learning.

Jacqueline Roebuck Sakho

Jacqueline Roebuck Sakho is Managing Partner at The Restorative Justice Group for Critical Community Engagement in Pittsburgh. She founded the organization in 2008 with a mission to improve the culture and conditions of schools. From 2013-14, she served as the Heinz Fellow for the Canevin Center for Social Justice at Duquesne University. She has worked as a victim outreach specialist in capital cases, serving as a liaison between the defense team and surviving family members of the victim.


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Fall 2014 Book Sale

Wednesday, October 22nd, we will be holding a Book Sale! You can find us on the WVU campus in Colson Hall–the beautiful English department building–room 130 from 9am to 4pm.

Stop by and see us!

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The Educational Justice & Appalachian Prisons Symposium, April 4th-6th

Contact: Professor Katy Ryan 304.293.9729

WVU Will Host Symposium on Educational Justice and Appalachian Prisons

A three-day symposium on Appalachian prisons, the importance of education, and restorative justice will take place at West Virginia University April 4-6. The Educational Justice & Appalachian Prisons Symposium will include roundtables with imprisoned people, teachers inside prisons, corrections administrators, judges, law and humanities faculty, mediators, and members of prison book projects.

The main speakers are:

Rebecca Ginsburg.


A professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Chicago, Dr. Ginsburg is the founder of the Education Justice Project, whose aim is to build a model college-in-prison program that demonstrates the positive impacts of higher education on incarcerated people, their families, and the communities from which they come. She will speak April 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhododendron Room of the Mountainlair.

Kyes Stevens.


A professor at Auburn University, Dr. Stevens is the founder of the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project, which is dedicated to bringing educational opportunities to imprisoned people in Alabama. She will speak April 5 at 11:30 a.m. in room 130 of Colson Hall.

Reginald Dwayne Betts.


A poet and memoirist, Betts is the award-winning author of A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival and Coming of Age in Prison and the poetry collection Shahid Reads His Own Palm. In April of 2012, President Obama appointed Betts to the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Other presenters at the symposium include:

  • Jean Trounstine, Co-Director of Changing Lives Through Literature and the author of Shakespeare Behind Bars: The Power of Drama in a Women’s Prison.
  • Jim Rubenstein, Commissioner of the WV Division of Corrections.
  • Larry Starcher, former WV Supreme Court Justice.
  • Jim Nolan, WVU professor of Sociology, former police and FBI officer.
  • Valena Beety, WVU Assoc. Law Professor and Chair of the WVU InnocenceProject.
  • Anne Rice, African American Studies Professor, Lehman College, and Member of the Planning Committee for TEDx talks at Sing Sing prison.

A complete schedule and other information is available at the symposium’s Web site: 

Professors Katy Ryan and Mark Brazaitis, both of the WVU Department of English, received a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council to create the symposium.

Professor Ryan explained,

“Planning for the symposium has already brought wonderful people into conversation about restorative justice, alternative sentences, and how to create greater justice in our region. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. We are eager to learn from one another and see what we can put into place.”

She hopes that everyone with an interest in educational justice and the criminal justice system will attend.

“Prisons impact all of us—whether in terms of taxpayer money or incarcerated friends and family members or those who work inside crowded, unsafe prisons. We have to make connections between inside and out if we are going to begin to undo mass incarceration. Education is going to be key.”

Image credits: photo of Rebecca Ginsburg from University of Illinois College of Education site,, accessed 22 March 2014; photo of Kyes Stevens from the The Quilts of Gee’s Bend project site,, accessed 22 March 2014; photo of Reginald Dwayne Betts by Gesi Schilling via the Poetry Foundation site,, accessed 22 March 2014.

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Educational Justice & Appalachian Prisons Symposium Website

We are happy to announce that the website for the Educational Justice & Appalachian Prisons Symposium, coordinated by APBP, is now up and running!

Please visit the site,, to learn more about the event. It will be at the WVU downtown campus April 4th-6th. Remember: It’s free to attend the event–all parts of it!

The site will be updated as we move closer to the symposium.

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Fall 2012 Update

Today an article about APBP was published by the Associated Press, which explains the nearly 400 hits we’ve had on the site before noon today. (As a point of reference, 10 hits/day would be about average.) Of course, this reminds a blog-keeper like myself that the site hasn’t been updated with any news in way too long, so hopefully the next few hundred “clickers” on our site today will enjoy our fall update!

  •  We had a great fundraiser concert at one of Morgantown’s finest venues, 123 Pleasant Street, last week. We raised about $400, or enough to send about 200 books.  Many thanks to the organizers of this event, including Mark Brazaitis, Elissa Evans, Rayna Momen, and Olga Gonzalez, and to LJ at 123 for giving us a great venue for our fundraiser. Performers included Almost Blue, Best Friends, and Haley Slagle & Billy Matheny, some of Morgantown’s finest musicians; we appreciate the time and talent they donated to the cause.
  • WVU Law Students are collecting donations for APBP. Law students were very helpful in helping us navigate the course to become an offical, tax-exempt nonprofit, and we appreciate everything they contribute to the organization.
  • As mentioned above, in addition to local press, APBP was recently featured in an article published by the Associated Press. Dominique Bruno gave a great interview to Vicki Smith, the article’s author, for the project–be sure to have a read!
  • Saturday volunteer packing sessions continue weekly from 10am-1pm in the Aull House on Spruce Street, next to the Morgantown Public Library. Come down and help us out if you feel so inclined!
  • As usual, we are grateful to ALL volunteers who help us out in any capacity to make sure that our mission of sending books to prisoners in our service region continues to be carried out, even when we are low on resources. Thanks to all of you!

And thanks to all of you who are checking out our site for the first time today in response to our national press. We appreciate your interest in our project and hope you will stay in touch by joining our Facebook page, subscribing to this blog, or contacting us to be added to our email list. It is wonderful to have friends from across the nation and world!


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Fundraiser = Success!

Our fundraiser was a great success, raising $440 for APBP!  Many thanks to Second Cousin, all of those who read letter excerpts, and everyone who came out to support our work by making a donation. (Word on the street is that Pam did a great job collecting those donations, too–thanks, Pam!) If anyone out there has pictures from this event, we’d love to post some on the blog! Send them to Angie at and we’ll get them posted!

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Saturday, April 30: Fundraiser concert at SOZO Coffeehouse in Morgantown!

Second Cousin, a local acoustic band that performs originals and singer-songwriter covers alike, will be playing a fundraiser show at SOZO Coffeehouse on High Street in Morgantown on April 30, 2011 from 4-6pm.  There is a $3 donation cover to benefit the Appalachian Prison Book Project. In addition to great music, you will be treated to a performance by APBP volunteers featuring readings of particularly touching, humorous, poignant, or otherwise notable excerpts from letters that came from those we serve: incarcerated individuals in the Appalachian region. So come on down, folks! This is an event for all ages and all kinds, at a smoke-free venue and a perfect time of day that will leave your wild weekend evening wide open,  or make sure you have plenty of time left to study for Monday’s big exam,  or allow you to get home before the kids’ bedtime, etc.! We’d  love to see you there!

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