In the Summer of 2019, New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene warned New Yorkers that contact with the legal system has lasting impact on people’s mental health and physical health. From police stops and searches, to having a relative or community member incarcerated, interactions with the system cause lasting harm. 

How does incarceration impact the mental and physical health of individuals and their communities? How is incarceration a public health issue?

During the winter of 2019, CUP collaborated with Teaching Artist Farideh Sakhaeifar and public high school students from Knowledge and Power Preparatory Academy International High School to unpack the public health impacts of prisons and jails on New Yorkers and their communities. To investigate, students surveyed members of their community, interviewed stakeholders working on the issue, and created art work that explored ideas of incarceration and liberation. 

Students created a booklet to teach others what they learned about incarceration and mental and physical health. 

Get your own booklet here!

See more photos of students in action here!

Check out the students talking about their work below! 

What People Are Saying

“Being apart of the CUP project was and incredible experience I will never forget. I very much enjoyed our team work on our collages and art. Working together meeting with people who hold very important places in our society/ It was a pleasure to work with every single one of them, even though I had missed a lot in the end, I wish we all had more time.” – Nas Troché, KAPPA Student

“It was interesting to hear what other people had to say and how they processed differently. Listening to how other people interpret the same issue makes you think deeper than before.” – Aaliyah Sullivan, KAPPA Student  

“People often think kids can’t do much, but this program shows that we can change our perspective. And by talking with people and learning more we can help spread awareness.” – Avani El’Esencio, KAPPA Student 

Resources & Links

Knowledge and Power Preparatory Academy International High School (KAPPA) is a small public high school in the Bronx dedicated to preparing its students for success in college. KAPPA offers the International Baccalaureate program for all interested and on-track Juniors and Seniors.

Funding Support

Major support for this program was provided by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and Council Member Ritchie Torres. 

Special Thanks

Elijah Bobo, Chelsea Davis, Soffiyah Elijah, David Norman, Victoria Phillips, Amy Pivak, June Song, Irina Vinnitskaya, Lauren Wansker, and Stephanie Yee 


  • CUP
  • Teaching Artist
  • Farideh Sakhaeifar
  • Project Lead
  • Leigh Taylor 
  • Project Support
  • Fielding Hong 
  • Knowledge and Power Prepatory Academy International High School (KAPPA)
  • Principal
  • Panorea Panagiosoulis
  • Vice Principal
  • Casey Smith
  • Students
  • Aaliyah Sullivan, Angela Cacuahuizo, Anthony Sanchez, Avani El’Esencio, Avree Dawning, Celiany Martinez, Darling Aquino, Diana Martinez, Joel Garcia, Kurdian Edwards, Marianny Beato, Nasser Troché, Reyna Almarante, and Silvania Nuñez