NLG Students: Week of Abolition

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). In 2024, we are re-naming this campaign the Week of Abolition (WOA) to reflect the NLG’s evolving positions.

Week of Abolition 2024 will be held March 3-9
Theme: “Free Them All: Abolition and Political Prisoners”

For the 2024 Week of Abolition (March 3-9), NLG Law Schools will be organizing event and actions related to the abolition of prisons and police, with a special focus on political prisoners.

Ways To Participate in WOA 2024

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 2024, we encourage NLG members to organize both in person and virtual events that highlight the many political prisoners who have been incarcerated for their activism. 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. To join the NLG Political Prisoner Working Group, email politicalprisoner@nlgmic.org.

The Guild engages in numerous initiatives to promote an end to mass incarceration nationally and locally. The NLG’s national Mass Incarceration Committee (MIC) aims to to disrupt and abolish carceral systems and all iterations of carceral systems, including raising awareness and support of jailhouse lawyers and political prisoners. 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’s biannual publication, Guild Notes, is sent to all jailhouse lawyer members and includes writing, poetry, and art sent in by our incarcerated members. 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 using #WOA2024 and #FreeThemAll. Tweet to us @NLGnews!

Check out student events from WAMI 2023 at this link!

Mass Incarceration Resources

Political Prisoners Organizations and Resources

List of U.S. Political Prisoners

Rattling the Cages: Oral Histories of North American Political Prisoners (AK Press, 2023)

Jericho Movement

Spirit of Mandela Coalition

Black Alliance for Peace

Jailhouse Lawyers Speak

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network

Anarchist Black Cross Federation

Stop Cop City: Free Victor Puertas

Abolition and Alternatives

NLG Webinar: Implementing Abolition (NLG Webinar, 2020)

Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom (Book, 2022)

No More Police: A Case for Abolition (Book, 2022)

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)

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)

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)

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