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University of Mississippi Rethinking Mass Incarceration Conference in the South

Type: Call for Papers
Date: January 15, 2016
Location: Mississippi, United States
Subject Fields: Women’s & Gender History / Studies, Social Work, Social Sciences, Public Policy, Human Rights

The South remains a region defined by mass incarceration, with Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, and Mississippi comprising four of the five states that lead the nation in imprisonment rates.  While these rates have recently decreased in some Southern states due to early release programs, individuals, communities, and families directly impacted by mass incarceration in the South continue to contend with racial bias, discriminatory sentencing practices, state violence, sexual abuse, medical neglect, the privatization of incarceration, and a wide range of post-release challenges. All who reside in the United States are affected by these and other problems created and sustained by the system of mass incarceration that persists in the South.

Building upon the conversations and initiatives inspired by the first national Rethinking Mass Incarceration Conference in the South, the University of Mississippi will host its second Rethinking Mass Incarceration in the South conference on April 14-16, 2016. In addition to sharing knowledge, experiences, and scholarship, we hope to develop action plans aimed at radically transforming the South’s legal and incarceration systems. Recalling scholar-activist Victoria Law’s call at the 2014 conference for greater visibility of women’s confrontations with mass incarceration and more attention to the role of gender and sexual abuse in jails, prisons, and immigration detention centers, this conference will feature keynote addresses by Professor Brenda V. Smith, expert on sexual abuse in prisons, who will deliver the McClure Lecture as part of the conference, and Professor and Historian Talitha LeFlouria, who is the author of the award-winning 2015 book, Chained in Silence: Women and Convict Labor in the New South. Additionally, the conference will continue to examine the growing importance of college-in-prison programs, and will include sessions exploring recent developments with the University of Mississippi Prison-to-College Pipeline Program.

We invite scholars of the legal and prison systems, mass incarceration professionals and activists, journalists, clergy and formerly incarcerated people to propose panels, papers, and poster sessions focusing particularly on southern incarceration and justice systems, including policies, sentencing, populations, civil rights, human rights and social justice issues and facilities.

Suggested topics include but are not limited to:

•Rethinking and transforming the South’s legal and prison systems.

•Exploring the impact of privatizing prisons and its higher rates of violence against the incarcerated.

•Examining the relationships between justice, civil rights, and laws in the region’s legal systems.

•Addressing the problems associated with the South’s incarceration system, policies, civil and human rights abuses, infringement on health status, equity and social justice issues.

•Analyzing the impact of sexuality and gender on institutional policies, sentencing practices, and incarcerated women’s confinement experiences.

•Investigating issues of juvenile justice, especially charging juveniles as adults.

•Exposing how age, race, class, ethnicity, and/or nativity impact the South’s incarceration rate, recidivism, the treatment of the incarcerated, vocational and educational opportunities, or privileges and abuses within the South’s prison and jails.

•Examining the South’s school-to-prison pipeline.

•Discussing the impact of mass incarceration on family members and communities.

•Sharing successful strategies, methods, and programs for re-entry for the formerly incarcerated.

•Highlighting arts programs designed to assist the currently and formerly incarcerated.

•Helping us to understand the crucial importance of opinions and strategies utilized by formerly incarcerated individuals when addressing the problems inherent in mass incarceration in the South.

Please use the online form located at www.sarahisomcenter.org under the button for Rethinking Mass Incarceration to submit a proposal describing the paper, poster, or discussion session.  The form will ask for a brief description and a short resumé or biographical statement. We ask that you send these by January 15, 2016. We also welcome complete panels. Please address any questions to rethinkingmassincarceration@gmail.com.

Some funds for travel may be available to a number of conference participants. If you are interested in applying for travel stipends, please include a brief paragraph explaining your need for these travel funds.

Contact Info:

Dr. Susan R. Grayzel
Director, Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies, and Professor of History
The University of Mississippi

By: Kevin Cozart and the University of Mississippi

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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