Prison Abolition, Human Rights, and Penal Reform: From the Local to the Global

September 2628, 2019 Austin, Texas



Photo Gallery

Video | Opening Remarks: Karen Engle

Video | Introduction to the Poets: Roger Reeves

Video | Dwayne Betts Poetry Reading

Video | Natalie Diaz Poetry Reading

Video | Q&A Session with the Poets

Video | Ruth Wilson Gilmore: “Meanwhile: Making Abolition Geographies”


Video | Roundtable: “Beyond Double Standards”

Video | Roundtable: “Abolition as a Daily Practice”

Video | Roundtable: “Time, Justice, and Abolition”

Video | Roundtable: “Concluding Reflections & Discussion”


The artwork featured on our website banner comes from UT law student and artist Savannah Kumar. Kumar uses abstract forms to bring structures of oppression into view. Her work disrupts the boundary between “outside” and “inside,” inviting viewers to grapple with the spacial, temporal, and emotional elements of oppressive spaces and practices.

The specific piece we have featured is a segment of a piece entitled, “the margins come to center” (oil and charcoal on wood, 6ft x 9ft, 2017). You can see a full view of the piece here.

Statement from the artist describing her piece: “When the four pieces of this work are laid flat on the ground, they form the size of the floor plan for the average solitary confinement cell. Nearly all solitary confinement cells are smaller than the size of a parking lot. At the center of the full, four-segmented piece is a “Panopticon,” a model of an institutional building for surveillance and control designed by Jeremy Bentham and analyzed by Michel Foucault. This piece was originally constructed with the four corners of the piece (with the house structures) all meeting in the center. The image of the Panopticon was originally split into four segments, with each segment at one corner of the piece. The piece was separated after completion, with the house structures fragmented onto the corners, and the pieces of the panopticon meeting in the middle. The margins of our society make up the center. Oppression that is hidden from view forms the foundations of our norms.”