Aron Pines

Aron Pines is a memoirist and a prison reform advocate who champions self-determined methods of carceral liberation.

Pines’ work is a dynamic query that inquires after the mental and emotional wounds that the criminal legal system leaves on the people forced into it. Incarcerated as a juvenile for felony-murder, and ultimately tried as an adult, Pines would later represent himself at trial and be acquitted of the charges levied against him.

His memoir, The Miseducation of Icarus, is currently in progress. He was recently published as a co-author in the Fordham Law Review, forwarding the concept of subversive lawyering: a concept that would allow advocates from non-traditional legal backgrounds to shape and modify the justice system.

Right of Return Project

The Miseducation of Icarus

A coming-of-age memoir about Pines’ journey into the world of legislation, a place where he would learn to successfully defend himself at trial after being incarcerated and charged with murder as a teenager. The memoir succinctly captures his transformative journey from a juvenile defendant to a pro-se litigant in the bowels of the American judicial system, serving as a necessary and urgent narrative in this era. Since his release, Pines has worked with various prison reform groups to minimize the damaging impacts of mass incarceration as a former Pen America Fellow, Right of Return Fellow, and a prison reform advocate.

On barriers found in the arts and literary fields:

“I didn’t know where to find publication opportunities or grants. Outside of me researching fellowships, in regards to creativity and prison reform, the finer details about how to get my writing published? I know there are avenues out there. But up until this point, this has been a learning process for me. Before getting this fellowship, I was just writing. Writing was something I did on my own. I was going to school and jobs that I worked were something totally different than what I wanted to do as a writer. I know that so much of establishing yourself in the literary or creative world is about connecting with greater communities of artists and creative spirits. So, I was just like pushing buttons and seeing what landed. But once I got on board with the fellowship, it expanded and opened me up to a wider range of audiences and creative individuals to get connected with. And I would have never had the opportunity to do that before. That has made it a lot easier for me to do what I ultimately want to do. It opened me up to a world that I was, up until that point, completely locked out from. A world that I knew existed—but I didn’t know how I was going to break into this thing.”