The essence of this project is respect for life and the restoration of dignity.
People accrue debt while incarcerated. On returning to society, they struggle to find employment. An increasingly privatized system then reincarcerates these human beings for failure to pay their debts. It is exactly this kind of economic double-bind which open and permissionless networks for the creation and distribution of value can solve.
*These statistics apply to the USA only.
Open, verifiable, executable contracts on ownerless networks allow us to organize institutions which are more like shared practices and customs than complex bureaucracies. We offer here a description of a shared practice for systems of restorative justice.
It is not a singular, more efficient corporation translated into code. It is a template for a way of operating previously impossible.
Art from pre-existing projects is collected, digitized, and sold as Non-Fungible Tokens on Ethereum.
The proceeds are split three ways: 20% to the Community Partner running the pre-existing program; 70% to pay back the debt of the artists; and 10% into a yield-bearing Endowment to fund the next project.
The 70% chunk is sent to an account controlled by a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization, which is responsible for the exchange and payment of each of the artists' debts in equal amounts.
The receipts of debt payment are added back to the Collection NFT, such that it holds not just the art, but also the transactional history of the restoration of at least one human story.
The source code is entirely open and you are welcome to fork it. It is optimized for OpenSea, but it is, of course, possible to sell and trade collections on any NFT marketplace which supports the ERC721 standard.
More generally, the DAO is content with low places that people disdain. It flows from the highest to the lowest, always finding and filling the empty space.
These articles all provide clear and well-researched evidence for how, and how much, debt accrues during incarceration, and the effects this has on the lives of returning citizens.
The Pr1s0n Art Project will aim to cover legal financial obligations (LFOs) ahead of other debts as these are least controversial. In 2016, returning citizens averaged ~$10k debt on release. LFOs are roughly 55% of these debts, which averages out to around $5,500 per person.
Even after serving their sentence, some former inmates are financially bound to the system for the rest of their lives.
Urgently building and improve justice systems that ensure fairness, promote safety, and strengthen community.
People involved with the criminal justice system in the United States are disproportionately low-income and indebted.
Entrapping debtors betrays the American idea. It must end.
These selected articles reveal how art, even in the darkest of circumstances, can serve as a creative practice of restoration to love for oneself and others.
Nicole R. Fleetwood’s powerful new book explains why.
An artist-turned-chaplain and a local muralist set out to bring art to some of some of the world’s most notorious federal inmates as a means of transformation and, hopefully, redemption.
Paños, small cloth swatches decorated with detailed illustrations by inmates, now hang in New York museums and are snapped up by worldly collectors.
A Florida exhibition of letters, poetry and drawings by inmates aims to shed light on the realities of mass incarceration
"I learned a long time ago that prison does not define us; it is what we do while we are in here that defines us."
"I think it’s really important not just to discuss the art, but to discuss the system that this art is coming out of and responding to. We’re supposedly decarcerating — people are being let out—but so many people are getting this very cruel parole. Even though we’re supposedly decarcerating, in a way we’re just expanding carceral structures. There’s also lots of entities benefitting from that. Often, people who are on life parole are wearing some kind of a monitor — they’re actually paying fees. They’re actually paying for this partial freedom."
"The thing that artwork does is it allows you to create your own value system. It’s the one thing the prison cannot take away from you. In that space of creativity, you have full autonomy and agency to do whatever you want, however you want to do it, create whatever world you want to create, and that little space can be infinite, and it’s enough to see the multitudes of everything that exists within you."
“The paño is a reminder that ‘I’m relevant, I’m still here. I’ve got these human feelings even though I’m locked up,’”