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IEMI Discusses Movement Lawyering, Anticarceral Infrastructure at Decarceral Visions Conference


Decarceral Visions, a conference co-hosted by the ACLU National Prison Project and the UCLA Criminal Justice Program, drew together 600 organizers, grassroots activists, policy advocates, and academics opposing carceral infrastructure construction across the United States. Over the course of the two-day event, IEMI team members shared insights and co-strategized with leaders of anticarceral infrastructure campaigns from coast to coast.

At the conference’s opening strategy session, IEMI attorney Joan Steffen facilitated a panel discussion among organizers in five different active campaigns, while IEMI Executive Director Premal Dharia spoke with campaign leaders about avenues for challenging prison funding streams.

Later that evening, IEMI Executive Faculty Director Andrew Crespo led the conference’s opening keynote panel, facilitating a discussion featuring Ruth Wilson Gilmore in conversation with directly impacted organizers and other leaders on prison architecture and financing.

As the conference continued into Saturday, Crespo shared insights with conference attendees and law students on how to lawyer effectively and responsibly in support of organizer-led campaigns and movements. Later that day, Crespo spoke to a group of researchers and academics about participatory research and movement-focused scholarship.

IEMI’s participation in the Decarceral Visions conference drew on and reinforces the Institute’s work in connection with its Carceral Infrastructure Project.