Wednesday, March 3, 2010

ICOPA 13 - Two Calls for Contributions

For those interested in participating as presenters at the 13th International Conference on Penal Abolition (ICOPA 13), the organizing team in Belfast is accepting paper abstracts. Below, please find a copy of the official Call for Papers. This call applies to anyone who would like to contribute a paper to the conference. Following the formal call is a second call for contributions, geared specifically towards current and former prisoners, organized by the Journal of Prisoners on Prisons.

The official Call for Papers:


Abolition, Reform and the Politics of Global Incarceration

23-25 June 2010


The 13th International Conference on Penal Abolition will be held in Belfast at a defining moment regarding the devolution of Policing and Justice to the recently constituted Northern Ireland Assembly. A decade on from the release of political prisoners under the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement, Northern Ireland’s prisons are under continuing criticism. We invite international papers, art, film, policy proposals, reports and posters on any aspect of the generic theme from researchers, activists, prisoners and former prisoners on penal abolition at a time dominated by reformist discourses about ‘healthy prisons’ alongside global expansion of incarceration in prisons, special hospitals and other places of detention. Individuals and groups can offer sessions/ panels in diverse formats. Current and former prisoners unable to attend, please contact us to enable presentations by proxy.

The Conference will be held at the University and in the community. We will provide a range of options for people to book directly with local hotels and hostels and endeavour to accommodate former prisoners.

ICOPA 13 will also acknowledge the life and work of Louk Hulsman who died in 2009:

“Abolition of criminal justice is that you abolish that in yourself, in the same way we are doing with racism and in the same way we are doing that with gender differences …You abolish criminal justice in yourself … Abolishing means that you will not anymore talk that language. And if you do not talk that language anymore then you see other things.”

Submission of Abstracts

Deaglan Coyle

The JPP Call for Papers:

Call for Contributions:

ICOPA XIII – Thirteenth International Conference on Penal Abolition

ICOPA International Organizing Committee

The expansion and normalization of imprisonment as a tool for dealing with a wide range of social problems has led to the entrenched perception of prisons as seemingly permanent fixtures of the modern landscape. In most academic and political circles, debates about prisons and penal policy are limited to discussions of ‘reform’, with little serious problematization of the underlying structure. Penal abolitionism – as a perspective, theory and international movement – presents a vital alternative to this penal inertia. Abolitionists reject the presumed inevitability of the prison, and actively seek to oppose and dismantle the prison industrial complex, while advancing community-based and non-punitive alternatives to imprisonment.

The voices of prisoners have been central to past abolitionist debates, and have helped to shape the theoretical and political terrain of the international abolitionist movement. The Journal of Prisons on Prisons (JPP) itself emerged out of the proceedings of the third International Conference on Penal Abolition (ICOPA III), held in Montreal in 1987. Since that time, theJPP has dedicated two thematic issues – Volumes 1(1) and 17(2) – to the topic of abolition. Moving forward, we hope to reinvigorate abolitionist thought and action by once again placing the voices of those most affected by the system at the centre of the debate.

The JPP is seeking original submissions on the theme of penal abolitionism, for the purpose of preparing a special issue or Dialogues section. Papers on a wide range of topics related to abolitionism are welcome. In particular, we invite contributions that deal with:

  • Theoretical engagements with penal abolitionism – engagements with classical abolitionist texts and discussions of new directions for abolitionist theory.
  • Abolitionist practices and the penal abolitionist movement – discussions of the “how” of penal abolitionism, the scope and nature of the movement, and especially on the roles played by prisoners.
  • Reflections on the goals of contemporary penal abolitionism – reconciling abolitionist goals (both short- and long-term) with the current state of the carceral, and engagements with the question “what is to be abolished?”.
  • Why abolition, why now? – works that ground discussions of abolitionism in the experiences and accounts of prisoners.

Please provide us with a draft article by no later than April 15, 2010. Selected papers submitted by that time may be considered for presentation, read by the author or a delegate, at the thirteenth Annual International Conference on Penal Abolition (ICOPA XIII) to take place in summer 2010 at Queen’s University – Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Submissions can be sent by email to or by post to:

Journal of Prisoners on Prisons

c / o University of Ottawa Press

542 King Edward Avenue

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

K1N 6N5

Important Note:

If you are a current or former prisoner, you can submit your abstract / paper / paper outline to BOTH of these calls, but you should indicate that you are doing so at time of submission. Submissions to the JPP will be treated like publication submissions, and will go through the normal review process.

Please contact Mike or Justin at the JPP if you have any questions. We can be reached at, or at the post address listed above.

No comments: