On March 23 and 24, 2023, IEMI co-sponsored a multi-part symposium marking the 50th anniversary of the Walpole takeover.
In the fall of 1972, the men incarcerated at the state prison in Walpole, Massachusetts organized themselves into a labor union—the National Prisoners Reform Association (NPRA). In March of 1973, when Walpole’s guards went on strike, the NPRA took over the prison and ran it peacefully for two months. Seizing on the opportunities provided by the guards’ strike and by a radical new Commissioner of Correction, Walpole’s prisoners launched an extraordinary struggle for self-determination and an important chapter in the movement for prison abolition.
Marking the 50th anniversary of these events, this symposium brings together the people who made them happen. Panels will include former members of the NPRA and other prison organizations, colleagues of commissioner-turned-abolitionist John O. Boone, and civilian observers. It will also bring a new generation of abolitionist activists into conversation with these speakers.