Still Doing Life

A Project By Howard Zehr and Barb Toews

Still Doing Life: 22 Lifers, 25 Years Later is a publication (published in March 2022 by The New Press) and an exhibition by Howard Zehr and Barb Toews consisting of 22 interviews and pairs of photographs taken 25 years apart of individuals serving life without the possibility of parole sentences in Pennsylvania prisons.

An exhibition of the project was first presented from June 30, 2022 – August 12, 2022, at The Heim Center for Civic & Cultural Engagement at The Free Library of Philadelphia’s Central Parkway location.

For information about the traveling exhibition version of Still Doing Life, download this pdf.

Project History

Still Doing Life presents a deeply moving tableau of people who, for the past quarter-century, have been trying to live meaningful lives while facing the likelihood that they will never be free.

In 1996, Howard Zehr, a restorative justice activist and photographer, published Doing Life, a book of photo portraits of individuals serving life sentences without the possibility of parole in Pennsylvania prisons. Twenty-five years later, Zehr revisited many of the same individuals and photographed them in the same poses. In Still Doing Life, Zehr and co-author Barb Toews present the two photos of each individual side by side.

In the tradition of other compelling photo books including Milton Rogovin’s Triptychs and Nicholas Nixon’s The Brown SistersStill Doing Life offers a riveting longitudinal look at a group of people over an extended period of time—in this case with complex and problematic implications for the American criminal justice system.

Each night in the United States, more than 200,000 men and women incarcerated in state and federal prisons will go to sleep facing the reality that they may die without ever returning home. There could be no more compelling project to challenge readers to think seriously about the consequences of life sentences.

About The Authors

Howard Zehr is a distinguished professor of Restorative Justice at Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. He is the author of the bestselling The Little Book of Restorative JusticeDoing Life; and co-author, with Barb Toews, of Still Doing Life (The New Press), among other titles.

Barb Toews is associate professor of criminal justice at University of Washington, Tacoma. She is the author of The Little Book of Restorative Justice for People in Prison; the co-author, with Howard Zehr, of Critical Issues in Restorative Justice; and the co-author, also with Howard Zehr, of Still Doing Life (The New Press). Toews is the editor of the Little Books in Restorative Justice series and lives in Tacoma, Washington.

Visit The New Press website for Still Doing Life for more information and to purchase the publication.

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