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Jan. 31-Feb. 1 Symposium Examines Toll of Mass Incarceration

Punishing Trauma graphic for the conference

A two-day symposium at the University of Kentucky will connect academic and community voices on issues surrounding mass incarceration. Organized by the UK College of Education, Punishing Trauma will examine the impact and consequences of punishment and surveillance on children, families, and communities.

Punishing Trauma looks at the systemic effects of racial disciplinary practices, public policy gaps, the criminal justice system, and mental health disparities for marginalized students in their schools and communities. This symposium will continue the work of the late sociologist Dr. Devon Tyrone Wade and carries the title of his dissertation,” said Dr. Serena M. Wilcox, UK College of Education postdoctoral scholar and event organizer.

Speakers will include community organizers and activists, policy-makers, academic researchers, and individuals directly impacted by mass incarceration and mass supervision.

“When someone goes to prison, the impact has a domino effect. As a College of Education, we want to peal back the layers, reveal the hidden toll being taken, and partner with community voices on how we respond,” said Dr. Margaret Mohr-Schroeder, UK College of Education associate dean for clinical preparation and partnerships.

The symposium will link the voices of those who work with, study, and confront these pressing concerns.

“The trauma created when a family member is incarcerated greatly impacts the quality of life of thousands of children and teens. When it manifests in emotional, behavioral and academic ways, traditional forms of punishment often create more problems. Research shows the benefits of having access to restorative justice practices, counseling, drug treatment, and other social services within the school setting. This is an opportunity for us to come together and move the conversation forward,” said UK College of Education Dean Julian Vasquez Heilig.

Register to attend the symposium, taking place Friday, Jan. 31 and Saturday, Feb. 1 at the Gatton Student Center on the UK campus.

UK Sponsors:

Office of Institutional Diversity

Lewis Honors College

College of Social Work

Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Center for Equality and Social Justice – College of Arts & Sciences

Department of Sociology – College of Arts & Sciences

Martin Luther King Center

Office of the Vice President for Research

College of Education

Office of Clinical Preparation and Partnerships – College of Education

External Sponsors:


University of Tennessee-Knoxville College of Social Work

Society of Philosophers in America (SOPHIA)-Lexington Chapter