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Beyond the Bars: Transforming (In)Justice

March 6, 2015 @ 11:45 pm - March 8, 2015 @ 9:00 pm


Beyond the Bars: Transforming (In)Justice
March 6th – 8th, 2015 Columbia University
Featuring Michelle Alexander

REGISTRATION IS NOW LIVE https://beyondthebars15.eventbrite.com

Friday March 6th at Lerner Hall 
Columbia University: Opening Event w. Michelle Alexander 
Saturday March 7th at the Columbia School of Social Work
An Agenda for Transformative Change – Morning & Afternoon Panels 
Sunday March 8th at the Columbia School of Social Work
Building the Grassroots – Organizing Workshops

There is a ticket for each day of the conference.  We ask that you please only register for the day(s) that you intend to come.  While we fully intend to acommodate everyone who registers, registration does not guarantee you a seat. Space at all events will be first come first seated for all registered attendees.

BEYOND THE BARS: TRANSFORMING (IN)JUSTICE is the fifth annual student-driven interdisciplinary conference on mass incarceration held at Columbia University. Given the greater consciousness of mass incarceration in the US, this conference brings people from different spaces and places to dig deeper in the work of ending mass incarceration, building justice and engaging in action beyond the weekend.

The  conference launches Friday night with Michelle Alexander and several other powerful guest speakers and performances. It continues into Saturday with the goal of developing an agenda for transformative change around mass incarceration.   Panelists are coming from a wide range of disciplines, experiences and locations; from government and community-based organizations, to advocates and activists, to students, faculty and community members and to those most directly impacted by mass incarceration who are in all of these roles including formerly incarcerated people and their families. The conference concludes on Sunday with an afternoon of organizing workshops led by several grassroots groups working for change.

This year’s Beyond the Bars conference will focus on the idea of transformation.  The questions this conference will pose are: How do we work towards lasting transformative change? How do we develop a framework for changing the way our country seeks  justice that does not perpetuate the roots of the problems that have led us here? How do we create change that addresses the systemic marginalization while also addressing the need for individual accountability and the safety of our communities and our society? What is a transformative agenda for changing the way we seek justice?

Conference Schedule 

Friday Night (Doors at 6:45 – Event Starts at 7:30)

Michelle Alexander
Impact Repertory Theatre
Asha Rosa
Marlon Peterson
Eddie Conway
Hosted by Bryonn Bain

Saturday Morning Panels

Transforming (In)Justice: Where Are We? Where Are We Going?  (10-11:30)
Rikers Island: A Case Study for Change (11:45 – 1:00)
Saturday Afternoon Panels 
Block 1 (2:00 – 3:30)
Gender and Justice: Women in the Struggle
Sentencing and Parole Reform
Punishment for Profit: The Economics of Mass Incarceration
Responses to Violence: Safety, Accountability and Justice
Education and Transformation Across the Carceral Continuum
Criminalizing Queerness: The LGBTQ Community in the Era of Mass Incarceration
Alternatives to Incarceration: Inside and Outside the Criminal Justice System
Health and Mental Health in the Era of Mass Incarceraiton
Block 2 (3:45 – 5:15)
Reentry, Reintegration and Resettlement: Beyond the Bars?
Racial and Economic Justice in the Era of Mass Incarceration
Police Accountability and Beyond: Developing Justice
Immigration, Incarceration and Justice
Families in the Struggle: Undoing the Harm of Mass Incarceration
Juvenile Justice: We Forgot they were Young
Ending the Punishment Paradigm: Solitary, Life Sentences, the Death Penalty, Collateral Consequences…..

Sunday Organizing Workshops (1:00-4:00)

Important to Note: There are limited slots for each workshop and they will likely fill up quickly.  Please note that many of the workshops are targeted for specific identities, positioning and experiences.

For Students – Organizing Students to End Mass Criminalization and Incarceration (Facilitated by Students Against Mass Incarceration)

For people who are Formerly Incarcerated, their family members and those Organizing in Impacted Communities – From criminal justice to Human Justice: Organizing Strategies for Shifting Paradigm and Practice (Facilitated by the Center for NuLeadership)

For those in the Faith Community –  Grassroots Organizing: Seminarians for Justice (Facilitated by Seminarians from Union Theological Seminary)

For Faith Based Organizations – Towards Justice: Organizing for Faith Based Organizations (Facilitated by Faith in New York)

Open to All – Organizing Against Empire: Realities of the People’s Resistance (Facilitated by Tongo Eisen-Martin)

Open to All – FARMS NOT PRISONS: Using Food Justice to change the Criminal Punishment System  (Facilitated by Jalal Sabur and the Freedom Food Alliance)
Open to All –Abolish THE BOX: Organizing to Challenge the Role of Higher Education in Perpetuating Mass Incarceration (Facilitated by the Incarceration to Education Coalition)

Location Information 

March 6th – Friday Night Kick Off Event 
Lerner Hall, Columbia University
2920 Broadway, New York, NY 10027
(Broadway at 116th)
1 Train to 116th Street
March 7th & 8th – Saturday Panels and Sunday Workshops
Columbia University School of Social Work
1255 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027
(Amsterdam between 122nd and 121st)
1 Train or AC/BD to 125th Street, walk to Amsterdam and head South
Conference Co-Sponsors
The conference is organized with support from the Columbia University School of Social Work, the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, the Institute for Research in African American Studies, the Heymen Center for the Humanities, the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School, the Latin@ Caucus at CSSW, the International Social Welfare Caucus at CSSW, the Queer Caucus at CSSW, the Mental Health Caucus at CSSW, Columbia University Students Against Mass Incarceration the Association for Justice and Health (AJAH Mailman), the Undoing Racism Internship Project, Students for a National Health Plan (SNaHp), Social Workers Against Criminalization, National Association of Social Workers-NYC, the Anti-Racist Alliance and Drive Change

Important Information and FAQs

For Saturday Morning there are 180 seats for the two plenaries.  After we reach capacity there will be seats available in overflow rooms.  

Are there ID requirements or an age limit to enter the event?

ID is required but all ages are welcome at this event and we strongly encourage young people to attend.

Will the event be livestreamed? 

Yes.  Friday night will be livestreamed and the Saturday morning panels will also be livestreamed.  Livestreaming can be viewed here http://new.livestream.com/CenterforJusticeatCU

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Please email beyondthebars2015@gmail.com with any questions.


March 6, 2015 @ 11:45 pm
March 8, 2015 @ 9:00 pm
Event Category:


Columbia University
New York City , United States + Google Map