Beyond the Bars 2024: Justice Beyond Punishment Request for Workshop Proposals

January 04, 2024

Submit workshop proposals for this year's Beyond the Bars Conference: Justice Beyond Punishment on April 5–7

Beyond the Bars 2024: Justice Beyond Punishment

Request for Workshop Proposals

Conference Overview

Carceral punishment remains a driving force in US society, with devastating consequences for families and communities, in particular Black, Brown, Indigenous, queer, trans, and poor folks. While movements for justice have made some progress in challenging punishment policy, practice, and culture, this has been much more difficult when it comes to issues of interpersonal and community violence. This year’s conference Justice Beyond Punishment, will explore the struggles to challenge carceral punishment while highlighting and advancing non-punitive approaches to interpersonal and community violence that offer us ways out of the punishment paradigm. Changing how we respond to interpersonal and community violence includes challenging and ending the violence of the state while building up community-based and community-specific approaches. It requires reckoning with the historic and current harms of carceral systems, and how the racialized punishment of the carceral state has done more to cause violence than prevent it. It means learning from and with impacted communities including  Indigenous, Black, Brown, queer, trans, and poor folks, and building a movement rooted in solidarity, self-determination, and dignity for all peoples. 

This year’s conference hopes to strengthen our collective work to challenge carceral punishment and strengthen community-based approaches to violence through focusing on the following questions: 

  • What strategies have been effective in challenging and dismantling state violence?  
  • What non-punitive approaches to interpersonal violence already exist that we can learn from, and grow? 
  • What are the underlying values and principles that can guide more just approaches to interpersonal violence and community violence? 
  • How do we build more solidarity across communities and movements around issues of violence?
  • What conversations need to happen in our movements to build stronger and more cohesive efforts to end state and interpersonal violence? 

Request for Workshop Proposals

Beyond the Bars 2024 will feature a collection of 75 minute workshops aimed at growing our collective capacity to challenge and dismantle state violence, and to develop and advance non-punitive and community-based approaches to interpersonal and community violence. These workshops should be designed to facilitate learning about issues related to the conference theme, to develop and share practical skills, and to to engage people in organizing and advocacy efforts related to ending violence. It is our intention that the workshops offer a chance for attendees to grow their skills, their community, and their opportunities to engage in the work of justice. We are particularly interested in workshops and trainings that support people in growing their knowledge and skills around concrete non-punitive approaches to interpersonal violence, and in learning about effective campaigns and strategies to end the violence of the state.  

These include but are not limited to:

  • Indigenous peacemaking approaches
  • Restorative justice approaches and skills 
  • Transformative justice approaches and skills 
  • Healing justice approaches and skills 
  • Afrikan indigenous cosmology and healing
  • Reparative justice models, and ongoing reparative justice campaigns 
  • Gender specific approaches to violence intervention 
  • Mediation and conflict resolution models and skills 
  • Deescalation strategies 
  • Addressing conflict and harm within organizations 
  • Addressing conflict and harm within families 
  • Spiritual practices and rituals 
  • Funding / resourcing models that support growing these approaches 
  • Violence interrupter and credible messenger approaches and skills 
  • Campaigns working to end state violence 
  • We are most interested in grassroots campaigns and campaigns led by people directly impacted by carceral systems  
  • Efforts to prevent and or close jails and prisons 
  • Campaigns to stop violence and torture inside prisons 
  • Campaigns at challenging immigrant detention 
  • Campaigns aimed at sentencing and parole policy 
  • Campaigns aimed at reducing police and policing 

In your proposal, please emphasize tangible takeaways for participants and the ways you will facilitate this through active participation and/or gaining a deeper understanding of an issue. Priority will be given to workshops that directly engage with the theme of the conference. 

Accepted proposals will be interactive and bridge the gap from analysis to action. We are especially excited about workshops and or trainings that provide the opportunities and/or resources for continued involvement after the conference weekend—either through one’s individual actions or through involvement with a group.

All workshops will be 75-minute blocks and take place on either Saturday April 6th or Sunday, April 7th, 2024 at Columbia University School of Social Work. Because of the number of workshops, we are not able to accommodate requests for day and time preferences. 

To submit a proposal, by Friday, February 2nd, 2024 at 11:59PM EST.

Direct link to complete form:

Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments at: [email protected]