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The Many Afterlives of Incarceration with John Gargano and Ivan Calaff

The New York Times calls John Gargano the “former drug dealer who charts a path for New York’s renewal.” This is a heavy bill, even for a person who has accomplished as much as John has. Going from a loving and quiet home in New Jersey to the circuitous career of hospitality-business/drug-dealing/incarceration/decarceration/hospitality-business and speaking openly about his trajectory, John Gargano has cleared many paths for returned citizens to contemplate, consider, and act upon.

This discussion with Ivan Calaff, a returned citizen himself who has pursued a different engagement, will lay out John’s trajectory and will consider the challenges, uphill battles, found opportunities, and hidden humanities that frame questions of post-incarceration. John Gargano is General Manager of Craft New York & Vallata.

About the Respondent

Ivan Calaff is a Research Analyst and the Reentry Coordinator at the Center for Justice. At Columbia, Ivan feels that he works alongside a phenomenal team of dedicated, inspirational, kind, and wonderfully brilliant educators and leaders who all understand, and have witnessed, the transformative power of education. Most recently Ivan participated in a celebration of poetry month at the Sing Sing Museum.


This event is part of our Justice Forum series, which provides opportunities for community discussion of arts and ideas on justice, equality, and mass incarceration. 

Please email disability@columbia.edu to request disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.

  • The Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures
  • Department of Classics
  • African American and African Diaspora Studies
  • Institute for Comparative Literature and Society
  • Center for American Studies
  • Tamer Center for Social Enterprise
  • Stavros Niarchos Foundation
  • Department of Music
  • The Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies