Kerry Sautner, President & CEO of Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site Download

29:38 Download January 25th

Kerry Sautner, President & CEO of Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site discusses her vision for the property.  As the second director in the museum’s 30-year history, she has inherited a national institution that has been saved from the wrecking ball and established as a destination site for visitors across the globe and a leading facilitator for discussion on criminal justice..   

Kerry outlined the priorities, expanding its national education leadership and workforce development programming, and creating a reimagined visitor experience.

She discussed Eastern State as a national leader in criminal justice education, speaking to the evolution of the prison system, using personal stories from the incarcerated and victims of crime, as well as bringing leading organizations and experts together to discuss critical issues in justice education and reform.  

Kerry described the new Justice 101 series by the Center for Justice Education at Eastern State.  Each virtual program examines the history of the justice system in America, from its founding to today, and the impact it has on society, citizens, and the world.

Once a month, Eastern State staff invite special guests to foster dialogue about a different topic in criminal justice. Justice 101 programs are free, take place virtually via Zoom, and last 45 minutes: a 30-minute program followed by a 15-minute Q&A. Guests can tune in live, or watch the programs back anytime on YouTube.

Justice 101 Programs:
January 19, 12:00 pm ET – Conversation on Civil Rights Movements within Prisons
February 22, 2:00 pm ET – Does the First Amendment Apply in Prisons?
March 18, 11:00 am ET – Women Behind Bars: Navigating Mass Incarceration
April 17, 6:30 pm ET – Exploring the 13th Amendment and the Persistence of Forced Labor in Prisons
May 13, 1:00 pm ET – Policing in America: Navigating the 4th Amendment, Stop and Frisk, and Civil Rights

Justice 101 is designed for learners of all ages.

We talked about their ongoing Workforce Development programming, the historic site offers a pathway to economic mobility for returning citizens, starting with the Preservation Trades Center, which provides training and connections to sustainable-wage paying union jobs in masonry and carpentry.  We also discussed the Lived Experience Activating Dialogue (LEAD) Fellowship supports people coming home from prison to career opportunities in the museum field.

Finally, a conversation on the Visitor Experience Reimagined: We will provide ways for Eastern State’s visitors to engage with the space, incorporating art installations, theater and film; providing educational experiences that encourage and support the different methods of learning; and creating informative and entertaining events that entice people of all ages to visit and engage with Eastern State and the team.   She is also looking forward to a website refresh that will allow people to interact with Eastern State from around the world.

For more information, visit

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