Description of the Project:

The prison system is not set up for the rehabilitation of the inmates. It often is a never ending cycle.

List of Ideas:

1. Power- economic power takes away resources from jails, and cultural power encourages society to think of inmates as animals and useless people in society. (Experience Sociology Textbook, p.118)

  • Ex: The YouTube video titled “VCE Global Power Cultural Power” by Alex Bacalja, explains the effect that religion, television, schools, and elections have on people, often without them even knowing they are being effected.

2.   Authority- rational-legal authority has power because it is based on laws and procedures. (Experience Sociology Textbook, p.119)

  • Ex: The 8th amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that citizens have the right against “cruel and unusual” punishment. No one defined what cruel and unusual was, so lawmakers get to interpret the meaning.

3. Latent Functions- an unintentional outcome of the prison system is that inmates often have a hard time adjusting back into normal society and struggle finding jobs. (Experience Sociology Textbook, p.19)

  • Ex: According to, 68% of released inmates go back to jail within 3 years of their release.

4. Manifest Functions- The intended outcomes of prison are punishment and reformation. (Experience Sociology Textbook, p.19)

  • Ex: According to, the purposes of prison are retribution, incapacitation, deterrence, and rehabilitation.

5. Social Closure- powerful groups close things off to smaller groups. For example, free people and business owners shut out release inmates by asking questions such as “have you ever been arrested?” (Experience Sociology Textbook, p.124)

  • Ex: states that felons lose the right to vote, bear arms, sometimes employment, and to travel abroad.

6. Scapegoating- The population scapegoats onto prisoners and believes that they are the reason the world is bad. (Experience Sociology Textbook)

  • Ex. According to The Prisoner as Scapegoat Journal, society puts their guilt onto inmates then locks them up and that “fixes” their problem.

7. Oppression- Even when inmates are released they are still oppressed by the government. (Experience Sociology Textbook)

  • Ex: states that felons lose the right to vote, bear arms, sometimes employment, and to travel abroad.

8. Coercion- Inmates are coerced into pleading guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence. (Experience Sociology Textbook)

  • Ex: In Making a Murderer on Netflix, Brenden Dassey was coerced into pleading guilty because he was special ed and was not questioned in front of a lawyer.

9. Stereotyping- Inmates are stereotyped as violent and angry but sometimes they are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. (Experience Sociology Textbook)

  • Ex: Rubin Carter was a black boxer and happened to be outside of a bar when there was a shooting and the police arrested Carter because he was a large black man. There were eye witnesses who testified that the shooter was a white man, but the police ignored those.

10. Deviance- People sometimes get arrested just because they do something against the social norms and standards. (Experience Sociology Textbook)

  • Ex: Nelson Mandela was arrested for 27 years for sabotage because he was fighting for freedom in South Africa.

How did you make it?

I searched the internet for quotes and slogans used in the prison reformation protests. I created the logo on the front of the shirt because I was inspired by the cycle of the prison system. I learned how many prisoners go back to jail within only a few years, and knew I wanted to call attention to that. I wanted the t-shirt to be simple because it represents a real problem. I didn’t want to sugar coat the problem as something less than what it was. Once I found my quotes, I printed them onto iron t-shirt transfers and ironed them onto the shirt.

Advice to Others:

I would tell others to watch a lot of documentaries and find something that you actually care about or could be interested in. Once you have a topic, start researching the main arguments in your problem and pick a side. When creating something, know your strengths. If you can’t draw or paint, make something. I’m not artistic so I used iron-on t-shirt transfers and just ironed them onto the shirt.

Front of t-shirt
Back of t-shirt
Original design of shirt and notes