ICOPA I (1983) – Toronto, Canada
How to Include All the Most Difficult Groups in the Community
ICOPA II (1985) – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Theoretical Directions in Abolitionism
ICOPA III (1987) – Montreal, Canada
From Prison Abolition to Penal Abolition
ICOPA IV (1989) – Kazimierz, Poland
Abolitionism in Eastern Europe
ICOPA V (1991) – Bloomington, Indiana, United States
Aboriginal Roots and Radical Empowerment
ICOPA VI (1993) – San Jose, Costa Rica
Challenging Third World Governments to Adopt Abolitionist Steps
ICOPA VII (1995) – Barcelona, Spain
Penal Abolition, A Real Utopia
ICOPA VIII (1997) – Auckland, New Zealand / Aotearoa
Pathways to Penal Abolition
ICOPA IX (2000) – Toronto, Canada
Transformative Justice: New Questions, New Answers
ICOPA X (2002) – Lagos, Nigeria
ICOPA XI (2006) – Tasmania, Australia
ICOPA XII (2008) – London, England
Creating a Scandal: Prison Abolition and the Policy Agenda
ICOPA XIII (2010) – Belfast, Northern Ireland
Abolition, Reform and the Politics of Global Incarceration
* adapted and updated from Morris (2000a).
“If there is an overall political issue around the prison, it is not therefore whether it is to be corrective or not; whether the judges, the psychiatrists or the sociologists are to exercise more power in it than the administrators or supervisors; it is not even whether we should have prison or something other than prison. At present, the problem lies rather in the steep rise in the use of these mechanisms of normalization and the wide-ranging powers which, through the proliferation of new disciplines, they bring with them” (1977: 306).
- Criminalization through other means: By this, we highlight the manner in which situations perceived as problematic can be treated as crime without technically being designated as such, by laying the foundations for the authorization of detention in other legal domains. These processes involve deeming individuals to be threatening and / or disposable through legally-codified mechanisms that structure-out evidentiary thresholds, procedural guidelines and accountability mechanisms contained within criminal law.
- Normalization of confinement: Once a mechanism of last resort in the sphere of criminal justice, the carceral is now entrenched in additional spheres of governance guided by precautionary logics. As a result, detention is becoming a more common experience amongst a growing number of individuals in a world in which confinement is presented as a normal response to a myriad of social and political issues.
- An increasingly multi-carceral society: Incarceration, confinement, detention, and, generally speaking, the deprivation of liberty, are not associated exclusively with the prison, criminal justice system, or disciplinary exercises of power. In the name of security, pre-emptive or precautionary forms of detention - aimed not a disciplining an individual, but at isolating and managing their potential threat - have become features of post-September 11 social control apparatuses. Additionally, the emergence and growth of public health agencies, coupled with the threats posed by communicable diseases or potential pandemics, have resulted in the development of new procedures for the involuntary confinement of individuals or groups considered to be infectious, recalcitrant in relation to treatment regimes, or otherwise risky. Confinement has also become a central tool for the management of immigration and the transnational flow of refugees and displaced persons. In this case, incarceration is related to the exercise of sovereign power and the policing of territory. As societies become increasingly open to flows of capital and increasingly closed to flows of people, the immigration detention centre has emerged as an important new institution of social control.
- Globalization of the carceral: In the contemporary context dominated by securitization, governing authorities share information with other nations in a stated effort to address shared security threats. This is resulting in a dual process in which previously-forbidden practices of detention - for example, extraordinary rendition and disappearances - become acknowledged as outsourced components of Western security apparatuses, while Western carceral practices are exported to developing nations through the training of criminal justice personnel, operating as a form of neo-colonialism.
- Continued expansion of carceral techniques into everyday life: Systems of surveillance that Foucault associates with disciplinary power and the carceral are becoming pervasive. As more and more aspects of our public and private lives become subjected to panoptic and synoptic techniques of observation, the boundaries between the prison and the social continue to blur. Schools are transforming into carceral spaces for the observation and management of youth; CCTV cameras and private security guards are becoming ubiquitous features of public and mass-private spaces; and the proliferation of intelligence-based systems of government - including a growing number of biometric databases - has facilitated the risk management of individuals and populations.