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

September 2628, 2019 Austin, Texas

Schedule

September 26, 2019

Time Session Information
3:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Registration

Susman Godfrey Atrium (TNH 2.100)

Please note our overflow room for Thursday's events: TNH 3.142.

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Opening Remarks & Poetry Reading

Francis Auditorium (TNH 2.114)

  • Karen Engle

    Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law; Founder & Co-director, The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice The University of Texas at Austin School of Law

Poetry Reading

Award-winning and distinguished poets in conversation through poetry about carceral politics.

Reginald Dwayne Betts is author of Bastards of the Reagan Era (2015) which won the PEN New England Poetry Prize, and Shahid Reads His Own Palm (2010). His book, Felon, is due October 2019. He holds a JD from Yale Law School.

Natalie Diaz won the American Book Award for her first collection of poems, My Brother Was an Aztec (2012). Her next book, Postcolonial Love Poem, is forthcoming (2020). Diaz was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2018. She is Associate Professor of English, Arizona State University.

Introduction to the Poets

  • Roger Reeves

    Poet; Associate Professor of English The University of Texas at Austin

Readings

  • Reginald Dwayne Betts

    PhD Candidate Yale Law School

  • Natalie Diaz

    Associate Professor of English, Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry Arizona State University

5:00 pm – 5:15 pm

Break

5:15 pm – 7:00 pm

Ruth Wilson Gilmore: "Meanwhile: Making Abolition Geographies"

Francis Auditorium (TNH 2.114)

Fifth Annual Frances Tarlton “Sissy” Farenthold Endowed Lecture in Peace, Social Justice and Human Rights, presented by the Rapoport Center with the Rothko Chapel in Houston.

About the Farenthold Endowed Lecture

  • Karen Engle

    Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law; Founder & Co-director, The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice The University of Texas at Austin School of Law

  • David Leslie

    Executive Director Rothko Chapel

Introduction of Ruth Wilson Gilmore

  • Neville Hoad

    Associate Professor of English; Co-director, The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice The University of Texas at Austin

Lecture

  • Ruth Wilson Gilmore

    Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences and American Studies; Director, Center for Place, Culture, and Politics Graduate Center, City University of New York

7:00 pm

Reception

Susman Godfrey Atrium (TNH 2.100)

September 27, 2019

Time Session Information
8:30 am – 9:00 am

Breakfast

Joseph D. Jamail Pavilion (CCJ 2.300)

9:00 am – 10:30 am

Roundtable: Beyond Double Standards

Francis Auditorium (TNH 2.114)

Human rights advocates often point to the double standards of criminal accountability applied to police at the domestic level and the United States at a global level. That is, those who are most in favor of criminal punishment when it comes to certain groups or states are least likely to face any form of accountability. In response, advocates often call for criminal prosecution of U.S. officials or military actors at the international level, and of police within the United States. This roundtable seeks to explore the implications of a politics based on prosecuting the perpetrators or policing the police. Might it be possible to deploy the critique of double standards without reifying penal structures or using the framework of “criminal justice” to address a range of social, political, and economic problems? Or does the critique prevent the emergence of other emancipatory imaginaries and practices?

Moderator

  • Karen Engle

    Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law; Founder & Co-director, The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice The University of Texas at Austin School of Law

Panelists

  • Jamil Dakwar

    Director Human Rights Program, American Civil Liberties Union

  • Kate Levine

    Associate Professor of Law Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University

  • Thenjiwe McHarris

    Co-founder Blackbird; Movement for Black Lives

  • Vasuki Nesiah

    Associate Professor of Practice Gallatin School of Individual Study, New York University

10:30 am – 10:45 am

Coffee Break

10:45 am – 12:15 pm

International & Transnational Abolitionisms

Walker Classroom (TNH 3.142)

Runs concurrently.

Moderator

  • Zinaida Miller

    Assistant Professor of International Law and Human Rights School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University

Panelists

  • Aziza Ahmed“The Push for Harm-Reduction and Decriminalization in the Right to Health Movement”

    Professor of Law Northeastern University School of Law

  • Zohra Ahmed"Abolishing the War on Terror"

    Clinical Teaching Fellow Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide, Cornell Law School

  • Frédéric Mégret"In Search of Early Penal Abolitionism: Neglected Figures in the Genesis of an Idea"

    Professor of Law and William Dawson Scholar Faculty of Law, McGill University, Canada

10:45 am – 12:15 pm

Reform & Abolition: Case Studies

Sheffield-Massey Room (TNH 2.111)

Runs concurrently.

Moderator

  • Jennifer Laurin

    The Wright C. Morrow Professor of Law The University of Texas at Austin School of Law

Panelists

  • Michele Deitch“A Prison Reformer’s Perspective: The Travis County Women’s Jail as a Case Study”

    Senior Lecturer The University of Texas Austin School of Law and Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs

  • Christopher Garcia-Wilde“Public Intoxication and Prison Abolition: A Case for Sobering Centers”

    MD/MPH Candidate University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

  • Aya Gruber"Abolition's Choices" (with Benjamin Levin)

    Professor of Law University of Colorado Law School

  • Benjamin Levin(with Aya Gruber)

    Associate Professor of Law University of Colorado Law School

  • Gina Tarullo"Abolition, Why We Need It and What It Takes: A Chicago Story"

    Programs, Policy, and Impact Support Chicago Torture Justice Center

12:15 pm – 1:15 pm

Lunch Break

1:15 pm – 2:45 pm

Black Lives, Prisons and Abolition: Transnational Perspectives from Black Women

Beck Classroom (TNH 2.123)

Runs concurrently.

Black feminist praxis is at the heart of the abolitionist movement globally, and Black women are at the forefront of movements organizing for against the prison industrial complex around the world. This panel brings together Black women on the frontlines of the fight for abolition and against the prison industrial complex from Brazil, Canada, and the United States. The purpose of this convergence is to present a critical dialogue on the inherent gendered anti-blackness of the global prison system, and the necessarily Black feminist framework of abolition that we must engage in order to dismantle it.

Moderator

  • Christen Smith

    Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies and Anthropology; Director, Center for Women's and Gender Studies The University of Texas at Austin

Panelists

1:15 pm – 2:45 pm

Active Scholarship, Creative Storytelling, Revolutionary Practice

Sheffield-Massey Room (TNH 2.111)

Runs concurrently.

This panel brings together scholars that analyze acts of individual and collective resistance to the racialized, classed, and gendered logics of the carceral state. Criminalized populations are incapacitated before, during, and after incarceration through a lack of access to adequate resources, including food, housing, education, employment, and healthcare. Looking across multiple spaces and archives, each panelist examines the ways in which activists challenge the oppression and dehumanization of punitive policies and practices while also considering how certain strategies might inadvertently reinscribe existing inequalities.

Panelists

  • Susannah Bannon

    PhD Candidate in Communication Studies The University of Texas at Austin; Founder and Board Member, Formerly Incarcerated College Graduates Network

  • Nolan Krueger

    PhD Candidate in Counseling Psychology and Ford Fellow The University of Texas at Austin

  • Will McKeithen

    PhD Candidate and Instructor in Geography University of Washington

  • Elissa Underwood

    Attorney & Scholar; Board Member Civil Rights and Immigration Section, Austin Bar Association

2:45 pm – 3:00 pm

Coffee Break

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Legal Empowerment as Abolition

Sheffield-Massey Room (TNH 2.111)

Runs concurrently.

Millions of Americans are incarcerated every year in prisons, jails, neighborhoods, and their bodies. Legal Empowerment as Abolition will highlight the role of and opportunity to engage Jailhouse lawyers in the movement to end mass incarceration in the US and how legal empowerment is being used nationally and internationally to shift power and expand access to justice for the isolated, incarcerated, and vulnerable.

Moderator

  • Savannah Kumar

    JD Student The University of Texas at Austin School of Law; Board Member, Truth Be Told and Amala Foundation

Panelists

  • Kevin Garrett

    Hogg Peer Policy Fellow Texas Jail Project

  • Jason Hernandez

    President Obama Clemency Recipient; Advisor, Buried Alive Project

  • David Johnson

    Criminal Justice Organizer Grassroots Leadership

  • Lauren Johnson

    Criminal Justice Outreach Coordinator, Policy Department ACLU of Texas

  • Jhody Polk

    Lead Organizer & Founder Legal Empowerment and Advocacy Hub; Director, Alachua County Reentry Coalition

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Immigration Detention and Abolition

Beck Classroom (TNH 2.123)

Runs concurrently.

Moderator

  • Denise Gilman

    Clinical Professor of Law; Co-director, Immigration Clinic The University of Texas at Austin School of Law

Panelists

  • Danielle Jefferis"Immigration Detention and Abolition"

    Clinical Teaching Fellow University of Denver Sturm College of Law

  • Marlene Nava Ramos“Crises and Carceral Reforms: The “Modern” “Close-to-home” Infrastructure of Immigration Detention in New Jersey County Jails”

    PhD Candidate in Earth and Environmental Sciences, Graduate Center City University of New York

  • Luis Romero“Paying the “Detention Bill”: The Economics and Hidden Costs of Immigrant Detention for Families”

    Assistant Professor of Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies Texas Christian University

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Sites of Abolitionist Struggle: Prison Writing, Carceral Memory, and Trans Justice

TNH 2.124

Runs concurrently.

Moderator

  • Samantha Pinto

    Associate Professor of English The University of Texas at Austin

Panelists

  • aems emswiler“Abolition in the Archive: Reimagining Archival Praxis and Disrupting Institutional Hegemony through a Radical Trans Politics”

    Archival Fellow Texas After Violence Project; MS Student in Information Sciences; MA Student in Women’s and Gender Studies, The University of Texas at Austin

  • Holly Genovese"Motherhood as Rage in Black Women's Prison Writing"

    PhD Candidate in American Studies The University of Texas at Austin

  • Noelle Janak"Fierce Urgency of Now: Prison Abolition as Trans Justice"

    PhD Candidate in African and African Diaspora Studies; Research Fellow, Center for the Study of Race and Democracy The University of Texas at Austin

  • Michael Reyes Salas"Can Prison Abolition and Penal Heritage Commemoration Coexist?"

    PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature The University of Texas at Austin

4:30 pm – 4:45 pm

Break

4:45 pm – 6:15 pm

Roundtable: Abolition as Daily Practice

Francis Auditorium (TNH 2.114)

Although often discussed as an end goal resulting in the elimination of harmful institutions from our communities, abolition is a daily practice that aims to transform a range of social relationships in order to remake the world around us. This roundtable brings together activists and scholars to think about the ways that abolition functions as a practice that impacts daily life at a variety of scales. The panelists will discuss the ways in which efforts to create a less punitive society – one capable of abolishing policing and incarceration – require a transformation of our relationship to ourselves and others in order to reduce harm and build strong, just communities. Together we will discuss how living an abolitionist life asks us to rethink not just our relationship with the state, but also address the punitive impulses that can bleed into our relationships in order to create a world without cages.

Moderator

  • Marisol LeBrón

    Assistant Professor of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies The University of Texas at Austin

Panelists

  • Ofelia Ortiz Cuevas

    Assistant Professor of Chicana/o Studies University of California, Davis

  • Sarah Lamble

    Reader in Criminology and Queer Theory; Assistant Dean for Teaching, Learning, and Student Experience; Director of Studies in Criminology Birkbeck University of London, England

  • Claudia Muñoz

    Director, Immigration Programs Grassroots Leadership

  • Hari Ziyad

    Artist & Author; Editor-in-Chief, RaceBaitr

September 28, 2019

Time Session Information
8:30 am – 9:00 am

Breakfast

Joseph D. Jamail Pavilion (CCJ 2.300)

9:00 am – 10:30 am

Roundtable: Time, Justice, and Abolition

Francis Auditorium (TNH 2.114)

In the international and transnational realms, transitional justice and other related practices have been pitched as way to reflect on and account for an atrocious past through truth, memorialization, reparation, and prosecution. Although sometimes seen as a foil for punitive approaches, transitional justice incorporates many assumptions about the importance of criminal law.  All of these forms of justice presume that the past can be briefly foregrounded and then largely escaped. It is a justice premised on rupture and resolution. But in our unequal and unjust present, particularly in the practices of policing, prisons, and prosecution, we can see the problems with these ideas about time and justice. In this roundtable, we will discuss the ways in which abolitionist politics can trouble temporal assumptions by helping us reconsider the role of colonialism and imperialism in contemporary practices of incarceration; the relegation of racial inequity, slavery, and colonialism to an ostensibly distant past; and the assumptions about memory and history embedded in transitional justice and international criminal law.

Moderator

  • Zinaida Miller

    Assistant Professor of International Law and Human Rights School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University

Panelists

  • Kelly Gillespie

    Senior Lecturer in Anthropology and Sociology University of the Western Cape, Cape Town

  • Aparna Polavarapu

    Associate Professor of Law University of South Carolina School of Law

  • Vanessa Thompson

    Postdoctoral Researcher & Lecturer, Institute of Sociology Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Germany

  • Ashley Farmer

    Assistant Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies The University of Texas at Austin

10:30 am – 10:45 am

Coffee Break

10:45 am – 12:15 pm

The Unintended Consequences of Reform Projects

Sheffield-Massey Room (TNH 2.111)

Runs concurrently.

Moderator

  • Simone Browne

    Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies The University of Texas at Austin

Panelists

  • Felicity Adams“Painting the Walls Pink, White, and Blue: Challenging the Expansion of the Carceral Nation by Exploring the Relationship between Gender Responsivity, Gender Critical Feminism and Carceral Feminism in the UK”

    PhD Candidate; Graduate Teaching Assistant Keele University School of Law, England

  • Beatrice Codianni“Diversion from Justice: A rights-based discussion of municipal “diversion” programs and their impacts on people in the sex sector” (with Poonam Daryani)

    Founder and Executive Director Sex Workers and Allies Network of New Haven

  • Poonam Daryani(with Beatrice Codianni)

    Clinical Fellow Global Health Justice Partnership, Yale Law School and Yale School of Public Health

  • Livia de Souza Vidal“After all, who is a victim?”

    Professor of Pedagogy Fluminense Federal University, Brazil

  • Jordan Steiker"Capital Punishment Reform: Friend or Foe of Prison Abolition?"

    Judge Robert M. Parker Endowed Chair in Law; Director, Capital Punishment Center The University of Texas School of Law

10:45 am – 12:15 pm

Reckoning with Violence

Beck Classroom (TNH 2.123)

Runs concurrently.

This panel will discuss how incarceration is an ineffective way to address violence, the narrative around victims/survivors, and their role in carceral regimes as well as anti-carceral responses.

Moderator

  • Marisol LeBrón

    Assistant Professor of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies The University of Texas at Austin

Panelists

  • Lauren Oertel

    Director of Organizing and Policy Texas Inmate Families Association

  • Annette Price

    Statewide Director, Texas Advocates for Justice Grassroots Leadership

  • Jorge Renaud

    Regional Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Southwest LatinoJustice PRLDEF

  • Clarence Watson

    Social Work Student; Founder Students With A Purpose, Austin Community College; Co-coordinator, Austin Regional Chapter, Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice

12:30 pm – 1:45 pm

Roundtable: Concluding Reflections & Discussion

Francis Auditorium (TNH 2.114)

Moderator

  • Neville Hoad

    Associate Professor of English; Co-director, The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice The University of Texas at Austin

Panelists

  • Kelly Gillespie

    Senior Lecturer in Anthropology and Sociology University of the Western Cape, Cape Town

  • Ruth Wilson Gilmore

    Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences and American Studies; Director, Center for Place, Culture, and Politics Graduate Center, City University of New York

  • Vasuki Nesiah

    Associate Professor of Practice Gallatin School of Individual Study, New York University

  • Annette Price

    Statewide Director, Texas Advocates for Justice Grassroots Leadership

  • Hari Ziyad

    Artist & Author; Editor-in-Chief, RaceBaitr