By Debbie Brudie, Humanities Planning Group

joseph-campbellPULLMAN, Wash. – An interdisciplinary approach to prison reform will be presented by Washington State University professor of politics, philosophy and public affairs Joseph Campbell in a free, public presentation at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18, in Goertzen Hall 21.

“Most of us accept that the U.S. prison system is flawed,” said Campbell, a 2016-17 WSU humanities fellow. “Why then have we been so slow to make changes to our costly and faulty prison system?

“My diagnosis is that arguments for prison reform are generally ineffective because the conversation gets stuck on … philosophical disputes, primarily about the nature of ethics and justice. This shifts the attention from the practical to the theoretical, which is contrary to viewing prison reform as a social and political movement.”

He said his presentation is concerned with the academic, rather than popular, argument for prison reform: “Specifically the work of free will skeptics, who think that no one is morally responsible for anything.”

The presentation is a Humanities Fellow Lecture ( and an Honors College Distinguished Faculty Lecture. Partnering hosts are the Humanities Planning Group and WSU Honors College.


News media contacts:
M. Grant Norton, WSU Honors College dean, 509-335-4505,
Debbie Brudie, WSU Humanities Planning Group manager, 509-335-6866,