NLG Students: Week Against Mass Incarceration

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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 2021 will be held March 1-6 and the theme is
“Prison Abolition and Beyond”

For the 2021 Week Against Mass Incarceration (March 1-6), we ask NLG Law Schools and Local Chapters to organize around the theme of “Prison Abolition and Beyond” to include all locations and instances in which people are held against their will, including jails,  immigration detention, juvenile detention facilities, psychiatric wards, and more. We also intend the “beyond” to include consideration of the abolition of policing as part of the larger mass incarceration system (and in line with the Guild’s 2020 resolution supporting the abolition of police).

Ways To Participate in WAMI 2021

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 2021, due to COVID-19 restrictions and the virtual nature of most law schools, we encourage NLG members to organize digital events that highlight the many harms caused by the current mass incarceration system and carceral logic. This can include virtual panels and workshops, letter writing events, social media campaigns, research projects, and more! To help with your organizing, check out our NLG Scholars Network and see the list of resources below.

An ongoing project we ask law school chapters to undertake 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 Bay Area Prisoner Advocacy Network, the NLG NJ-DE Prisoner Legal Advocacy Network (PLAN), and the Guild Notes column, “Beyond Bars: Voices from NLG Jailhouse Lawyers.”  The NLG in conjunction with the Center for Constitutional Rights holds weekly sessions in which volunteers go through the tens of thousands of letters received every year from people in prison for either Jailhouse Lawyer Handbook requests (processed during handbook packing session nights) or NLG members requests. (This program was put on indefinite hold during 2020 due to the pandemic). 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  investigated and challenged 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 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 #WAMI2021 and #Decarcerate. Tweet to us @NLGnews!

Mass Incarceration Resources


NLG 2020 Resolution Supporting the Abolition of Policing

Punishment and Policing in the Trump Era

The End of Policing

The Role of Police in Ending Mass Incarceration

Defunding the Police

The Policing Question: Protection vs. Service in 2020


NLG Webinar: Implementing Abolition

Prison Abolition Syllabus

Abolition for the People

Prison By Any Other Name: The Harmful Consequences of Popular Reforms

Are Prisons Obsolete? 

Disability Justice and Abolition

The Abolition and Justice Collective

Corrections Project PIC Poster

Transforming Carceral Logic

Reasons for Penal Abolition

Joint Statement of Incite! and Critical Resistance

Transform Harm

Immigration Detention

NLG Webinar: Fighting for the Release of Detained Immigrants During COVID-19

Immigration Guide to How Arrests and Convictions Separate Families

Immigration and Mass Incarceration

Immigration Policy and Planning in the Era of Mass Incarceration

Mass Incarceration and Immigrant Detention

Fact-sheet: Immigrant Detention and Mass Incarceration 

War on Drugs

The Sentencing Project

Drug Policy Alliance

Drug War Is The New Jim Crow (ACLU)

High Crimes: Strategies to Further Marijuana Legalization Initiatives


Incarcerated Workers Take The Lead

Following the Money of Mass Incarceration

Struggles of Using Legal Recourse as a Path Toward Better Prison Conditions


Broken on All Sides

Visions of Abolition

The 13th

The House I Live In

The Prison Within

“Prisons do not disappear problems, they disappear human beings.” -Angela Y. Davis