Radical Reimagining: The Carceral State and Abolitionist Responses

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Please join us for a symposium on the modern movement to abolish the prison industrial complex (PIC). Abolitionists recognize that the PIC fails to provide true accountability, healing, or safety and that to dismantle the PIC, we must build a society where harm can be addressed without carceral systems. Abolition therefore requires investments in communities and a broad reimagining of social and legal systems in areas such as housing, mental health, family welfare, and economic justice. The Symposium will explore the theory of abolition, how the carceral state encompasses and intersects with civil legal issues, and a reimagining of a world without police, prisons, and other carceral systems. 

The symposium will be held on Zoom and all are welcome to attend. Captioning and ASL interpretation will be provided.  Please click here to register.

March 18, 2021 Schedule

12:00 – 1:10 pm | Abolition in Theory & Practice 

A grounding in the theory of abolition and an introduction to the abolitionist vision for a world without prisons and police. 

Featuring: Monica Cosby (Activist, Organizer, Restorative Justice and Peace Circle Keeper); Victoria Law (Author and Freelance Journalist, Co-Author of “Prison by Any Other Name: The Harmful Consequences of Popular Reform”); Talila A. Lewis (Community Lawyer, Educator and Organizer)

Moderator: Professor Sheila Bedi (Northwestern Law)

1:15 – 2:30 pm | Abolition & Carceral Systems Beyond Prison

Exploring how specific systems in areas such as housing, mental health, and family welfare must also be reimagined, as they reinforce the carceral state by replicating models of surveillance, control, and punishment.

Featuring: Erin Miles Cloud (Co-Director/Co-Founder of Movement for Family Power, former family defense public defender); Dr. Rahim Kurwa (Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law, and Justice at UIC); Stella Akua Mensah (Artist, Peer Support Specialist, Psych Survivor, Transformative Justice Advocate)

Moderator: Sara Rosenburg, JD ‘22

Please direct questions to Leah Gluck ( or Nellie Mitchell (, Symposium Editors, Journal of Law and Social Policy.