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International Conference on Penal Abolition 2018

Friday, June 15, 2018 - 17:00 to Monday, June 18, 2018 - 17:00
Birbeck, University of London, Malet Street, WC1E 7HX, United Kingdom

Abolitionist Futures: Building Social Justice Not Criminal Justice

Friday, 15 June 2018 17:00 - Monday, 18 June 2018 17:00

Birbeck, University of London, Malet Street, WC1E 7HX, United Kingdom

Conference website:

Direct registration link:


International Conference on Penal Abolition 2018

In summer 2018, London (UK) will host an international gathering of those working for social justice in place of criminal justice. Over four days there will be opportunities to organise and participate in activities and workshops that seek to build and strengthen local and international movements for social justice and penal abolition. The conference is hosted by: The Harm & Evidence Research Collaborative, The Open University; the Department of Criminology, Birkbeck University of London; and the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies.

Conference Themes

The conference programme will focus on strategies and solutions for addressing the harms of policing, prisons, immigration detention and punishment addressing the broader systems of oppression that maintain the prison industrial complex.

There will be four conference streams;

QUESTIONING: This stream will provide introductory workshops for those who are new to abolitionist ideas.

RESISTING: This stream will reflect on every day forms of individual and collective resistance to the prison industrial complex.

DISMANTLING: This stream will discuss and debate concrete strategies and tactics for dismantling criminal justice and undoing social norms that feed systems of captivity and punishment.

BUILDING: This stream will explore social justice alternatives to prisons, police, detention and criminal justice institutions.


Programme Highlights

Friday 15 June: Evening Public Event (6-9pm)

Roundtable discussion with Beth Richie & Ruth Wilson Gilmore
Please note that registration for this free and public event is separate.

Saturday 16 & Sunday 17 June: Workshops, Presentations & Strategy Sessions, including

  • Challenging Prisons, Borders, Colonialism and Empire
  • Resisting Immigration Detention & Militarization
  • Prisoners Families Organising for Prison Abolition
  • Alternatives to Police & Fostering Community Safety
  • Prisoners Voices & Resistance
  • Disability & Abolition
  • Community Accountability & Transformative Justice
  • Community Responses to Sexual Harassment and Violence
  • No One is Disposable: Queer/Trans Liberation and the Politics of Solidarity
  • Accountability within Leftist Groups
  • Strategic Uses of the Law for Abolitionist Ends
  • Indigenous Resistance
  • Everyday Survival Strategies: Cop-Watch, Sex Work and Gentrification
  • Confronting State Racism and Counter-Terrorism
  • Fighting Toxic Prisons: Incarceration and the Environment
  • Creative Resistance, Protest and Political Art

+ Films, artwork, poetry and performances
+ Saturday evening social event
+ Sunday evening film screening

Monday 18 June: Academic paper sessions

  • Anti-Carceral Feminist Abolition in Research, Practice and Organising
  • Abolitionist Research and Education: Ethics & Dilemmas
  • Abolitionist Histories I: Lessons from Past and Present
  • Abolitionist Histories II: Radical Black Struggle, Memory and Resistance
  • Confronting Spaces of Confinement and Technologies of Institutional Violence
  • Pathways to abolition: Restorative Justice and Alternatives to Criminalisation and Punishment
  • Rethinking Solidarity, Safety & Security
  • Challenging Walls, Borders and Detention
  • Contemporary Struggles and Strategies
  • Abolitionist Visions for the Future

Organisations Running Workshops

  • Asociación de Familiares Y Amigos de Prisioneros, Ecuador
  • Action for Trans Health
  • Audre Lorde Project / Safe Outside the System
  • Bent Bars Project
  • Californians United for Responsible Budgets (CURB)
  • Campaign Against Prison Expansion (CAPE)
  • Clean Break
  • Critical Resistance
  • Detained Voices
  • Empty Cages Collective
  • End Deportations
  • Fight Toxic Prisons
  • Haringey Anti-Raids Group
  • Hollaback London
  • KIN Arts Collective
  • LGBT Unity Scotland
  • London Campaign Against Police & State Violence
  • Netpol
  • NUS Black Students Campaign
  • Reclaim Holloway
  • Sisters of Frida
  • Sisters Uncut
  • Smash IPP
  • Students Not Suspects
  • Transformative Justice Kollektiv Berlin
  • Umbrella Lane
  • YG Institute

With contributors from:

Australia, Basque, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Eastern Europe, Ecuador, France,  Germany, India, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Scotland, Spain, United States, Venezuela