“The World We Want: Prison Abolition, Gender, Racial & Economic Justice”

Friday 15th June 2018, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM @ The School of Law, Birkbeck University, Clore Management Centre, Torrington Square, Bloomsbury London WC1E 7JL

Join us for the public launch event of Abolitionist Futures: Building Social Justice Not Criminal Justice, the 2018 International Conference on ‘Penal Abolition’. We are excited to host Beth Richie, Ruth Wilson Gilmore and Deborah Coles, three leading organisers/thinkers/strategists in the global movement for prison abolition.

Reflecting on movement building over the past the two decades, Beth, Ruthie and Deb will discuss key lessons learned, as well as successes and challenges of current struggles.

  • How can we grow and strengthen our movements from grassroots to global?
  • How can we connect our struggles and build solidarity across feminist anti-violence organising, environmental justice, anti-poverty and racial justice?
  • What will it take to dismantle the prison industrial complex and build safe and sustainable communities?

Be part of the discussion and debate on how we build the world we want.

About the Speakers:

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Ruth Wilson Gilmore is Professor of Geography and Director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at the City University of New York Graduate Center. Gilmore has lectured in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. A co-founder of many grassroots organisations including California Prison Moratorium Project, and Critical Resistance, she works on racial capitalism, organised violence, organised abandonment, changing state structure, criminalisation, and labour and social movements. A second edition of her prize-winning book Golden Gulag will appear early next year. Recent works include “Beyond Bratton” (Policing the Planet, Camp and Heatherton, eds.), and “Abolition Geography and the Problem of Innocence” (Futures of Black Radicalism, Lubin and Johnson, eds.). . Watch the full video below:


Beth E. Richie is Head of the Department of Criminology, Law and Justice and Professor of African American Studies at The University of Illinois at Chicago.

Image result for Beth E. Richie is Head of the Department of Criminology, Law and Justice and Professor of African American Studies at The University of Illinois at Chicago

The emphasis of her scholarly and activist work has been on the ways that race/ethnicity and social position affect women’s experience of violence and incarceration, focusing on the experiences of African American battered women and sexual assault survivors.

Dr. Richie is the author of Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence and America’s Prison Nation (NYU Press, 2012) which chronicles the evolution of the contemporary anti-violence movement during the time of mass incarceration in the United States and numerous articles concerning Black feminism and gender violence, race and criminal justice policy, and the social dynamics around issues of sexuality, prison abolition, and grassroots organisations in African American Communities.

She is also author of Compelled to Crime: the Gender Entrapment of Battered Black Women. Dr. Richie is a board member of The Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community, The National Network for Women in Prison, A Call To Men and a founding member of INCITE!: Women of Colour Against Violence.


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Deborah Coles is the executive director of INQUEST, and has worked for the charity since 1989. She leads INQUEST’s strategic policy, legal and parliamentary work and has considerable expertise in working to prevent death and ill treatment in all forms of detention and for more effective accountable learning.

She has been an independent expert adviser to numerous government committees and inquiries, is a regular media commentator, delivers conference papers nationally and internationally and is author of numerous articles and publications. She is also on the board of trustees of Clean Break and a special adviser to Women in Prison.

Click Abolitionist Futures for more information.

Register at: Eventbrite

This event is part of the School of Law, Birkbeck’s annual Law on Trial series. Find out more here. The hashtag for the series is #LawOnTrial