Beyond the Bars Los Angeles: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Abolition

Beyond the Bars Los Angeles (BTB-LA) is a convening of system-impacted people, scholars, activists, educators, policymakers, and artists engaged in the international decarceration movement. Organized by BTB-LA Fellows — system-impacted people and community partners — in collaboration with university students and faculty. The conference brings together a diverse range of allies, artists, activists, advocates, and academics to engage in global initiatives aimed at ending incarceration. 

Beyond the Bars has been running for the past 10 years at Columbia University’s Center for Justice (you can see the schedule for last year’s conference here) and more recently, through the Prison Education Program at UCLA. The Center for Justice is committed to ending mass incarceration and criminalization, and advancing alternative approaches to justice and safety through education, research, and policy change. Its mission is to help transform the approaches to justice from being driven by punishment and retribution to being centered on prevention and healing. The Center is interdisciplinary and works in partnership with schools, departments, centers and institutes across Columbia, other universities, government agencies, community organizations, advocates and those directly affected by the criminal justice system. UCLA’s Prison Education Program mission is to make postsecondary education accessible to women and young people who are currently incarcerated, and to bring UCLA faculty and students to learn alongside them, thereby challenging bias, discrimination, and injustice in a shared and collaborative learning experience. You can find the courses we offer here.

The conference will be virtual and take place on  November 18–20, 2021.

We invite individuals, groups, and communities to submit proposals ranging from performances, films, panel discussions and workshops. 

The conference will be a way to re-energize, heal, learn, and play, whilst building community and developing visionary approaches to ending incarceration with diverse participants. BTB-LA  2021 is an opportunity to work together and share strategies in service of abolition and social liberation.  

Proposal Deadline: September 15, 2021