Field Notes

PSST: Joshua Safran


Joshua Safran talks about his ongoing work as a lawyer advocating for the wrongly imprisoned and survivors of domestic abuse, and the film Crime After Crime.

The full podcast can be heard here.

Joshua Safran is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, “Free Spirit: Growing Up On the road and Off the Grid.” In addition to his career as an author, Joshua is also an attorney and a nationally recognized advocate for survivors of domestic abuse and the wrongfully imprisoned. Safran spent his childhood hitchhiking, and surviving the elements and a violent stepfather before finding his way to law school.  Crime After Crime is the exclusive documentary film on the legal battle to free Debbie Peagler, a woman sentenced 25 years-to-life for her connection to the murder of the man who abused her. Twenty years later, as she languishes in prison, a California law allowing incarcerated domestic-violence survivors to reopen their cases is passed. Debbie finds her only hope for freedom when two rookie attorneys with no background in criminal law step forward to take her case.

For its second season of public conversations, the Portland State Social Practice Talks public conversation series has focused on various aspects of the prison-industrial complex in the United States. These talks have ranged from artists to reform advocates, playwrights to curators, all engaging with, challenging, and questioning the role of prisons in our society. The conversations serve as a form of public research in relation to an ongoing project at the Columbia River Correctional Institution. The goal is learning how different people approach contact with the corrections system, and the potential role of art in this context. The conversations were held publicly at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art.