Criminally Unjust: Young People and the Crisis of Mass Incarceration

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Title: “Criminally Unjust: Young People and the Crisis of Mass Incarceration”

Date: April 23rd, 2005

Location:  Columbia University (Altschul Auditorium – 119th St. & Amsterdam Ave.)


There is an urgent need for young people, who are the group most likely to be directly affected by the criminal justice system, to become more aware of and involved in the movement to address the crisis of mass incarceration and criminalization of communities of color in the US.  Each day, more and more young people enter into a revolving-door criminal justice system; an entire generation is becoming socially, economically and politically handicapped. As criminal justice-related problems among young people in New York City reach critical proportions, there has never been a more important time for innovative awareness raising, meaningful analysis, and creative organizing strategies that reach young people on their own terms. 

It is critically important that the dialogue about young people and the prison crisis utilize the voices that resonate most strongly from and within the minds of young people – the artistic voices of music, film, spoken word and theater.  The arts have the potential to educate young people, bring them together for organizing events, and empower them with cultural expressions that have an undeniable impact on the wider society.  It is also essential that conversations among scholars, leaders and activists include and prominently feature the voices of young people and artists so as to enrich the content and enhance the relevance of the conversations to the young people who we seek to support.

Conference Description: 

The Africana Criminal Justice Project, in conjunction with the Institute for Research in African American Studies, will host a unique conference on April 23, 2005 that will bring together young people, students, teachers, parents, activists, scholars, and artists to address the effects of America’s crisis of mass incarceration on young people.  Some of the sub-topics to be address include incarceration rates and responses, approaches to juvenile punishment, the criminalization of youth in popular culture, and the broader issues of crime, justice and leadership.  We also hope to bring together a wide range of scholars, activists and practitioners who can lend their voices and scholarship to a rich dialogue with young people about the state of the growing crisis of mass incarceration.  This unique one-day event will involve a variety of forums and presentations including panel discussions, workshops and performances.  Some of confirmed speakers include: Manning Marable, Councilman Bill Perkins, Yvonne Bynoe, Bryonn Bain, Rosa Clemente, Ras Baraka, and Geoff Ward.

Download the Conference Schedule here
(requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)





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