Beyond the Bars 2017

Beyond the Bars: Transcending the Punishment Paradigm

March 2-5, 2017


You can livestream Thursday night, Friday Night and much of Saturday’s events using this link:  Beyond the Bars Livestreaming 

The Beyond the Bars Conference, now going into its 7th year, is an annual event that brings together a trans-disciplinary group to advance the work of ending mass incarceration and mass criminalization and building a just and safe society. Each year scholars, students, activists, advocates, policy makers, government officials and those who have been most directly impacted by issues of incarceration and criminalization come together for three days to deepen our collective analysis, strengthen our network of those working for change and make visible the many ways those from the academy and the community can engage in action.

This year’s conference, Transcending the Punishment Paradigm, will address the criminal justice system’s responses to violence focusing on the following four questions:

  1. What are the root causes of violence within communities? What are the root causes of state violence? How do the two intersect?
  2. What is needed to makes communities safe?
  3. What are the existing narratives about people who have committed violent acts? How do we change those narratives?
  4. When violence happens in the community, what are responses that decrease mass criminalization and incarceration and do not rely on the punishment paradigm?

The Conference is organized by the Center for Justice at Columbia University, the Beyond the Bars Fellowship, the Criminal Justice Caucus at Columbia School of Social Work in with support from the Columbia School of Social Work.


THURSDAY NIGHT – WOMEN TRANSCENDING THE PUNISHMENT PARADIGM (Doors at 6:15pm – Event Starts at 6:30pm) Columbia Law School

FRIDAY NIGHT – BUILDING THE MOVEMENT: CONVERSATIONS with ANGELA DAVIS (Doors at 6:45pm – Event Starts at 7:30pm) Lerner Hall, Columbia University

SATURDAY – TRANSCENDING THE PUNISHMENT PARADIGM – MORNING PLENARIES AND AFTERNOON PANELS (Registration begins at 9:15am – Panels start at 10am) Columbia School of Social Work

Morning Plenaries (10 -1:15)

  • Understanding the Root Causes of Violence and What Makes Communities Safe (10 – 11:30)
  • Beyond the Non, Non, Nons: Challenging the Narratives of “Violent Criminals” and “Dangerous Communities” (11:45 – 1:15)

Lunch (1:15 – 2:15pm)

Afternoon Plenary (2:15 – 3:45pm)

  • How do we Respond to Violence? Strategies to Transcend the Punishment Paradigm

Breakout Block (4-5:30pm)

  • Healing and Accountability Inside Prison: Pathways to Restoration, Justice and Release
  • Safety and Justice Without Prison: Applying Restorative Justice to Violent Crime
  • Violence Interruption: Working with Community Members to Respond to Violence
  • Transformative Justice: Responding to Violence Outside of the Criminal Legal System
  • Immigrant Communities Under Attack: Protection and Resistance
  • Challenging State Violence in the Community: Police, ICE, Schools…….
  • The State vs. the Resistance: Confronting Political Repression
  • Struggles Against State Violence in Jails and Prisons

SUNDAY – BUILDING THE GRASSROOTS – ORGANIZING WORKSHOPS (Registration begins at 9:30am – Program starts at 10am) Columbia School of Social Work

Speak! Resistance Throught the Arts: Welcome and Performance (10-11:00)

Block 1 (11:15-12:45)

  • Pacific Islanders: Warriors Against Violence
  • PP/POWs: 800+ Collective Years of Violence & Punishment
  • Redefining Risk: A Qualitative and Quantitative Approach to Enhancing Public Safety and Reversing Mass Incarceration
  • Setting up a Charitable Bail Fund: Lessons Learned
  • A Culture of Violence: As American as Apple Pie
  • #CLOSErikers
  • Prisons in the “Promised Land:” Prison Justice Activism on Canada’s East Coast
  • How Higher Education Programs in Correctional Settings Effect Institutional Change
  • “Just in Her Feelings?”: Mitigating State Violence by Challenging Schools’
  • Responses to Girls of Color who Experience Intimate Partner Violence
  • “Decolonization of the Imagination:” Creating a New Paradigm through the Arts
  • Incarcerating Unaccompanied Child Immigrants
  • Community Building for the Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Created by the Formerly Incarcerated
  • “You’re Being Released, Now Where Are You Going to Live?”

Lunch (12:45-1:45)

Block 2 (1:45-3:15)

  • Ending Sexual Violence in Prison as a Tactic for Abolition
  • Roots of Resistance: Using Arts as Activism
  • Violence Against The Family Unit
  • Banding Together: Uniting Community and Challenging Incarceration and Punishment in New York
  • Speed Organizing
  • Introduction to Restorative Justice and Circle Process
  • All of Us or None: Building a Powerful and Inclusive National Movement of Formerly Incarcerated People
  • Transformation and Empowerment: The Intersection of Formerly Incarcerated People and Higher Education
  • Healing is An Act of Resistance
  • Free Them All: Defending the Lives of Criminalized Survivors of Violence
  • We Must Love and Protect Each Other: Building Community Safety Outside of State Systems
  • Art and Artivists Challenging Violence: Creating a Culture of Radical Empathy
  • Respecting Differences: Reducing Volatile Interactions between Youth and Law Enforcement on the Street

Block 3 (3:30 – 5:00)

  • Introduction to New Age Technology
  • How Our Lives Link Altogther! Organizing for Healing Justice
  • Art and Transformative Justice
  • Healing the Family System through Accountability and Understanding in Child Sexual Abuse Cases
  • Poetry is Not a Luxury*
  • Violence in Higher Education: Desegregating the Classroom and the Community
  • Understanding the Human Cost of State Violence: Public Health, Arts Based Activism and Organizing
  • Reshaping Reentry in New York State: The Legislating Forgiveness Campaign for Criminal Records Expungement
  • Tales from the Margins: Why Some Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence Go to
  • Prison and What We Can Learn From Their Stories
  • Can I Live? Turning Oppression into Opportunity to Create Change
  • Resistance Inside and Out: Women Prisoners and Formerly Incarcerated Women Challenge State and Intimate Violence
  • Self-Care and the Activist
  • Supporting Incarcerated Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People
  • The Second Prison: Unlocking Second Chances