Adelphi Annual History Conference on Incarceration

On February 14, 2019, Thrive For Life Prison Project participated in the 46th Annual Adelphi History Conference on “Incarceration, Punishment and Rehabilitation in Historical Perspective.”

S., a Thrive For Life retreat alumnus and active member of our community, was one of the speakers, sharing on the theme “Turning Points in the Prison Journey: Experiences of Incarceration and Rehabilitation” and his involvement in the Thrive For Life mission.

Dr Cristina Zaccarini, Associate Professor, Co-Director of Asian Studies at Adelphi University, provided the following highlights:

At our 46th Annual Adelphi Conference, on the topic of "Prisons, Parole and Rehabilitation,"  Social Studies teachers from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut were invited to come and learn innovative strategies for teaching and research, as they have come in decades past. The event,  which featured keynote speaker, CUNY law professor Steven Zeidman, was well attended. We very much appreciated being able to feature the video foregrounding the wonderful work of Thrive For Life Prison Project and its founder, Br. Zachariah Presutti, SJ, as well as the America Media interview of Felix P., a Thrive For Life retreatant, and soon-to-be a Thrive For Life/Ignacio House resident. Thrive For Life Deputy Executive Director, Axel de Foucauld, also gave a much appreciated detailed summary of the important work of the organization, and many in the audience were enthusiastically reading the brochures and reports that he supplied us for the conference. We were all very happy to have a few members of the Thrive For Life Staff and participants who brought their positive energy to the event!

The keynote speech given by Prof. Zeidman was superb, as were the other speakers, including History Department Chair, Ed Reno, Adjunct Professor, Mia Brett, and S., a Thrive For Life participant and Community Mentor. Teachers raved about all the talks, and my very knowledgeable colleagues said they learned so much that they had previously been unaware of, particularly about the power of parole boards; however, as our History Department Chair Ed Reno put it, "S. really was the star of the show."  

S.'s was a masterful talk that was so genuine and insightful that he received a standing ovation! In my twenty-years of teaching at Adelphi and attending the yearly conferences, I have never before witnessed such a moving audience response. One teacher approached me to tell me that he had, up until that day, felt so drained from working with troubled students that he was increasingly finding it difficult to deal with his daily struggles, but having heard S.,  he now felt "hopeful and eager to go to work" the following day. On campus, students who had been to the event continue to come up to me to say that either they heard S. and were, in their words, "blown away," or learned from other students who had attended, that one of our speakers was "incredibly powerful." Indeed, faculty at the event have been talking about having S. return for future talks and events.

Thank you to all of you for helping to make our 46th conference one of the best in Adelphi's history!

Dr. Cristina Zaccarini
Associate Professor, Co-Director of Asian Studies

Axel de Foucauld