Following the National Lawyers Guild Law for the People Convention in October 2015, NLG membership adopted a resolution calling for “the dismantling and abolition of all prisons and of all aspects of systems and institutions that support, condone, create, fill, or protect prisons.” In honor of this resolution, in 2016 the NLG expanded our annual Student Day Against the Death Penalty to become the Week Against Mass Incarceration (WAMI).
WAMI 2020 will be held March 1-7 and the theme is
“Mass Incarceration and the Role of Policing”
For the 2020 Week Against Mass Incarceration (March 1-7), we ask NLG Law School and Local Chapters to organize events and actions on mass incarceration, highlighting the connections between the role of policing institutions and practices and the exponential increase of incarcerated people over the last four decades.
This year the NLG will be partnering with the Guild’s National Police Accountability Project (NPAP). Founded in 1999, NPAP is a nonprofit public interest organization dedicated to protecting the human and civil rights of individuals in their encounters with law enforcement and detention facility personnel. NPAP’s members are plaintiffs’ attorneys, legal workers, and law students who work on law enforcement misconduct cases, including civil actions against prison and jail personnel. Law students interested in police accountability work can join NPAP for $30 at nlg-npap.org/join.
Ways To Participate in WAMI 2020
In past years, Guild members and chapters have organized interactive workshops, community discussions, film screenings, tabling, letter writing campaigns, banner drops, visits to incarcerated youth, and panels on topics such as solitary confinement, the school to prison pipeline, immigration detention, transformative justice, and alternatives to incarceration. To find speakers for your events, check out our NLG Scholars Network and check the WAMI page of the Guild website for more resources and speakers to be added!
One project we are encouraging law school chapters to undertake this year involves researching and publishing information on your campus police departments. NLG law student members at Northeastern University Law school created a template for analyzing the practices and policies of private police forces at universities. We are hoping all Guild chapters can produce similar reports to share! Take a look at the Guide To Interrogating Campus Police as Law Students to get started.
The Guild engages in numerous initiatives to promote an end to mass incarceration nationally and locally. Current NLG decarceration initiatives include the NLG-NYC Parole Preparation Project, the NLG Bay Area Prisoner Advocacy Network, the NLG NJ-DE Prisoner Legal Advocacy Network, and the Guild Notes column, “Beyond Bars: Voices from NLG Jailhouse Lawyers”. NLG Mass Incarceration Committee and Prison Law Project volunteers respond to jailhouse lawyer members’ letters and send out our Jailhouse Lawyer Manual on an ongoing basis. NLG members are involved in various initiatives opposing policing, criminalization, solitary confinement, capital punishment, and new prison construction. The Guild also supported the 2016 and 2018 National Prison Strikes and has been working to investigate and challenge deplorable conditions in numerous Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison facilities in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Please email NLG Director of Research and Education Traci Yoder at firstname.lastname@example.org to share the events you are organizing! Everyone should post flyers, pictures, and event invites on the Week Against Mass Incarceration Facebook event page and join the conversation on Twitter using #WAMI2020 and #Decarcerate. Tweet to us @NLGnews!
Mass Incarceration Resources
War on Drugs
Drug War Is The New Jim Crow (ACLU)