NLG Students: Week Against Mass Incarceration

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 2022 will be held February 28-March 4 and the theme is
“Mass Incarceration and the Housing Crisis”

For the 2022 Week Against Mass Incarceration (Feb. 28-March 4), we ask NLG Law Schools and Local Chapters to organize around the theme of “Mass Incarceration and the Housing Crisis” to explore the intersections of housing policy, evictions, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the criminalization of poverty in the perpetuation of the mass incarceration crisis.

WAMI 2022 is co-sponsored by the NLG Housing and Homelessness Committee, which works to advance the principle that housing is a human right. The committee supports the efforts of communities advocating for and creating access to safe, affordable, and adequate housing for all people. The committee aims to provide legal support to grassroots movements organizing around self-determination, tenants’ rights, foreclosure resistance, squatting/homesteading, homelessness rights, property redistribution, and other housing and land use issues.

Ways To Participate in WAMI 2022

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 2022, 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 housing policy. 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 traci@nlg.org 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 #WAMI2021 and #Decarcerate. Tweet to us @NLGnews!

Mass Incarceration Resources

Housing Crisis

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)

Policing

NLG 2020 Resolution Supporting the Abolition of Policing (NLG Article, 2020)

“Punishment and Policing in the Trump Era,” by M. Brown (Article, 2017)

The End of Policing by A. S. Vitale (Book, 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)

Abolition

NLG Webinar: Implementing Abolition (NLG Webinar, 2020)

Prison Abolition Syllabus (Guided Resource List, 2016)

“Abolition for the People” (Article, 2020)

Prison By Any Other Name: The Harmful Consequences of Popular Reforms by M. Schenwar and V. Law (Book Website, 2020)

Are Prisons Obsolete? by A. Davis (Book PDF, 2003)

Corrections Project PIC Poster (Visual)

“Transforming Carceral Logic,” by S. Lamble (Article)

“Reasons for Penal Abolition,” by M. J. Coyle (Article)

Joint Statement of Incite! and Critical Resistance (Article)

Transform Harm (Website)

Disability Justice

“Disability Justice and Abolition,” by K. Tastrom (NLG Article, 2020)

The Abolition and Disability Justice Collective (Website)

“Abolition Medicine” by Y. Iwai, Z. H. Khan, and S. DasGupta (Article, 2020)

Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination by A. Nelson (Book Website, 2013)

“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)

“COVID-19, Biopolitics and Abolitionist Care Beyond Security and Containment,” by E. Boodman (Article, 2020)

Immigration Detention

NLG Webinar: Fighting for the Release of Detained Immigrants During COVID-19 (Webinar, 2020)

Immigration Guide to How Arrests and Convictions Separate Families (Guide)

“Immigration Policy and Planning in the Era of Mass Incarceration,” by S. Shah (Article)

“Mass Incarceration and Immigrant Detention,” by A. Wellek (Article, 2016)

Fact-sheet: Immigrant Detention and Mass Incarceration (Fact Sheet)

War on Drugs

The Sentencing Project (Website)

Drug Policy Alliance (Fact Sheet)

“Drug War Is The New Jim Crow,” by G. Boyd (Article, 2001)

“High Crimes: Strategies to Further Marijuana Legalization Initiatives,” by T. Yoder (Article, 2013)

Miscellaneous 

Following the Money of Mass Incarceration (Report, 2017)

“Struggles of Using Legal Recourse as a Path Toward Better Prison Conditions,” by L. Drapkin (Article, 2018)

Documentaries

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)

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