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16.06.2017 13:07 Alter: 126 days

The Global Prison

Call for Papers

Theme: The Global Prison
Subtitle: Incarceration and Social Justice
Type: International Conference
Institution: Centre for Social Change, University of Johannesburg
Location: Johannesburg (South Africa)
Date: 16.–18.11.2017
Deadline: 15.7.2017

This international, interdisciplinary conference will create a
platform for human rights and/or prison activists, scholars and
practitioners to discuss the globalization of prison technologies. In
broad terms, we will be looking at cross-pollination in incarceration
processes, policies, and policing methods, and also considering the
criminalization of certain communities in various parts of the world
and how these relate to prison reform and social justice.

Incarceration technologies tend to overshadow social justice
concerns, for example, prison rebellions are invariably followed by
public discourses that are concerned with efficiency of penitentiary
systems, crime statistics, and not whether or how prison works, see
for instance media coverage of the the unrest at the St. Albans
Maximum Security prison, in Port Elisabeth, South Africa where 3
inmates lost their lives late last year, or the Anisio Jobim
Penitentiary Complex (Compaj) in Manaus, Brazil where 56 died. In
both instances there was much handwringing about systemic
deficiencies such as overcrowding and poor security, and not much on
decarceration and what that would mean, and social justice.

The prison space, much like the concept of the International Airport,
aspires to globalised standards of technological competency and
social control. In the case of prisons this has deleterious effects
on social justice as concerns with "world standards" mean that local
alternatives to incarceration and penitentiary systems are
overlooked. In South Africa for example, the shift from regimented
apartheid prisons to post-apartheid correctional facilities has not
transformed public attitudes towards prisonsers and prisons, nor has
it effectively nudged society towards social justice or meaningful
offender rehabilitation. Instead, the transition to correctional
facilities has more readily marked the state's ability to compete
globally in efficient penitentiary systems .

This conference aims to mark out the multiple and connected global
faces of the prison and mass incarceration. We aim to provide an
opportunity to theorize this "Global Prison," mapping out how
technological and transnational advances in penitentiary systems
retard decarceration and social justice. We also invite activists and
practitioners in order to share ideas and explore social justice
praxis. We welcome papers that address incarceration and policing
methods in various parts of the world and how these work with the
global prison, the global prison industrial complex, prison cultures,
and South-South comparisons of penitentiary systems—and linked
struggles for social justice.

- The global prison: shared technologies of incarceration
- North-South, South-South Comparisons Prisons, Policing, and Social
- Prison identities
- Prison and Education/health
- Race, migration and mass incarceration
- Gender, sexuality and incarceration
- Class, labour, and incarceration
- Prison communities (family/kin of prisoners)
- Crime, Racialization and Incarceration
- Criminalization of Communities
- Xenophobia and criminalization
- Invasion, subjugation, conflict and the role of prisons
- Sentencing, the courts, and mass incarceration
- Prison, Unrest, Riots, Rebellions
- Incarceration rates cross-sectionary - time, space, and difference
- Penitentiary systems in post-conflict socities
- In/visible prisons

Please send abstracts (no more than 250 words) to the
globalprisonconference(at) with Global Prison in the subject
line no later than July 15 2017. Queries can be sent to the same
address with Query in the subject line.

William G. Martin


Centre for Social Change
University of Johannesburg
PO Box 524
Aukland Park
Johannesburg, 2006
South Africa
Email: globalprisonconference(at)