Saint Mary’s faculty member Ron Ahnen was recently profiled in the Contra Costa Times story “Working from the inside in: Saint Mary's Professor Ron Ahnen and the 'politics of imprisonment'.”
A politics professor, and director of the College's International Area Studies program, Ahnen teaches courses on human rights and prison reform such as “Ending Sentences: Life Behind and Beyond Bars” and his academic research explores police violence and public security policy in the United States, Latin America and Brazil.
In addition to his academic research, the Bay Area News Group newspaper article highlighted Ahnen’s ongoing commitment to prison reform in California. As president of California Prison Focus – a human rights group working to abolish the state’s prison system in its present condition, he has advocated for inmates in the state’s Security Housing Unit (SHU), or solitary confinement units, who have held hunger strikes over the past year to protest prison conditions.
In addition to the inmate hunger strike, Ahnen has addressed the deteriorating state of California’s prison system with the media on several occasions, including the May 2011 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that ordered the state to address inhumane prison conditions and overcrowding in state detention facilities.