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 2023 will be held March 6-10 and the theme is
“Building Alternatives to Prisons, Jails, and Policing”
For the 2023 Week Against Mass Incarceration (March 6-10), NLG Law Schools have decided to organize around the theme “Building Alternatives to Prisons, Jails, and Policing” to explore what a world without the current mass incarceration systems would look like and how to get there.
Ways To Participate in WAMI 2023
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.
In 2023, we encourage NLG members to organize both in person and virtual events that highlight the many harms caused by the current mass incarceration system and to begin to imagine new alternatives. This can include panels and workshops, letter writing events, social media campaigns, research projects, tabling, and more! To help with your organizing, check out our NLG Scholars Network and see the list of resources below.
The Guild engages in numerous initiatives to promote an end to mass incarceration nationally and locally. Current NLG decarceration initiatives include the NLG Bay Area Prisoner Advocacy Network, the Guild Notes column, “Beyond Bars: Voices from NLG Jailhouse Lawyers,” and the Jailhouse Lawyer Speak’s International Law Project (a Working Group within the NLG’s Mass Incarceration Committee). The NLG, in conjunction with the Center for Constitutional Rights, processes tens of thousands of requests received from people in prison annually for either the Jailhouse Lawyer Handbook or NLG membership. NLG members are involved in various initiatives opposing policing, criminalization, solitary confinement, capital punishment, and new prison construction.
Please email NLG Director of Research and Education Traci Yoder at email@example.com to share the events you are organizing! Everyone should post flyers, pictures, and event invites on your chapter social media pages and join the conversation on Twitter using #WAMI2023 and #Decarcerate. Tweet to us @NLGnews!
Mass Incarceration Resources
Abolition and Alternatives
NLG Webinar: Implementing Abolition (NLG Webinar, 2020)
No More Police: A Case for Abolition (Book, 2022)
Prison Abolition Syllabus (Guided Resource List, 2016)
“Abolition for the People” (Article, 2020)
Are Prisons Obsolete? by A. Davis (Book PDF, 2003)
Corrections Project PIC Poster (Visual)
Transform Harm (Website)
How U.S. Housing Policy Impairs Criminal Justice Reform (Law Review Article, 2021)
The Prison to Homelessness Pipeline (Law Review Article, 2018)
Policing and Gentrification (Autonomous Tenant Union Blog, 2018)
Nowhere to Go: Homelessness among Formerly Incarcerated People (Prison Policy Initiative Report, 2018)
Collateral Consequences of Mass Incarceration and Impediments to Women’s Fair Housing Rights (Law Review Article, 2012)
Rise of Criminal Background Tenant Screening as a Violation of the Fair Housing Act (Law Review Article, 2009)
Incarceration and Homelessness (Book Chapter, 2008)
Housing Resources in the South (Resource Guide, 2021)
NLG 2020 Resolution Supporting the Abolition of Policing (NLG Article, 2020)
“Punishment and Policing in the Trump Era,” by M. Brown (Article, 2017)
The Role of Police in Ending Mass Incarceration (Report, 2019)
“Defunding the Police,” by P. Petrequin (NLG Article, 2020)
“The Policing Question: Protection vs. Service in 2020,” H. McDougall (NLG Article, 2020)
“Disability Justice and Abolition,” by K. Tastrom (NLG Article, 2020)
“Abolition Medicine” by Y. Iwai, Z. H. Khan, and S. DasGupta (Article, 2020)
“Abolition Must Include Psychiatry,” by S. A. Mensah (Disability Visibility Project Article, 2020)
“To Abolish the Medical Industrial Complex,” by G. Wallace (Black Agenda Report, 2020)
Decarcerating Disability: Deinstitutionalization and Prison Abolition by L. Ben-Moshe (Book Website, 2020)
“Mass Incarceration and Immigrant Detention,” by A. Wellek (Article, 2016)
War on Drugs
The Sentencing Project (Website)
Drug Policy Alliance (Fact Sheet)
“Drug War Is The New Jim Crow,” by G. Boyd (Article, 2001)
Following the Money of Mass Incarceration (Report, 2017)
Broken on All Sides (Movie Website)
Visions of Abolition (Movie Website)
The 13th (Trailer)
The House I Live In (Movie Website)
The Prison Within (Movie Website)