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The objective of this paper is to understand the impact of incarceration and the potential to reduce its unintended residual effects through the initiatives of a non-profit humanitarian organisation called Humans of San Quentin (HoSQ). Using a critical methodological approach supported by established academic scholarship we argue that social death occurs as a consequence of suffering pains of imprisonment. The results also indicated that HoSQ creates a counter-current and to some degree ameliorates the pains of imprisonment by establishing a platform for incarcerated people to convey their stories. When incarcerated people express and explain their life histories, these assist in bringing clarity to painful experiences, and in their individual healing process. The community also gains a greater understanding of the complexity and multifacetedness of criminal justice interactions.


social death theory prisoners pains of imprisonment storytelling advocacy

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Martinovic, M., Antojado, D., Kahn, D., & A’Vard, T. (2023). Challenging the ‘Social Death’ of Incarcerated People Through Storytelling and Advocacy. European Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 5(4), 1–10.