The Sheltering Justice Collection was created through the Sheltering Justice: Stories from the Intersection of COVID-19 and Mass Incarceration project. The purpose of this project is to document the impact of the spread of COVID-19 within prisons and show the true circumstances that people who were incarcerated were facing at the beginning of the pandemic. Through the expression of oral history, art, and poetry, narrators share their story without the filter of state censorship, creating space for awareness, transparency, and advocacy. These materials were created and gathered through a collaboration between TAVP, Mourning Our Losses, and the Inside Books Project Archive.
There are 45 items in the Sheltering Justice Collection that consist of audio, video, art, and handwritten materials. The items in the collection hold stories of directly impacted individuals, individuals with loved ones on the inside, and advocates who are witnesses to the effects of COVID-19 within prisons. These stories reflect on the state of mass incarceration, its harsh conditions exacerbated by the pandemic, and the state’s reluctance to report and act on the spread of illness. The collection also informs on the need for basic resources such as healthcare, food, clean living conditions in prisons, as well as the importance to advocate for humane treatment and institutional transparency.