Identity in the Age of Mass Incarceration

Co-Sponsored Conference
April 15, 2016 6:00 PM
April 17, 2016 2:30 PM
McCosh 50
Co-Sponsored Conference
April 15, 2016 6:00 PM
April 17, 2016 2:30 PM
McCosh 50
The third annual Students for Prison Education and Reform conference is a critical examination of the ways in which identities are constructed, persecuted and criminalized within the carceral state
Princeton SPEAR, Shaun King, and aas21

This year the SPEAR conference is focused around the theme of identity, and how certain identities become criminalized. Specifically, we’ll be examining how marginalized populations — including racial minorities, undocumented immigrants, and the LGBTQ community — are persecuted by our penal system on the basis of those identities. We are collaborating with various student groups at Princeton to bring a diverse array of speakers and panelists to campus, creating a space at Princeton for students and community members to share in our vision for a more humane criminal justice policy.

Friday, April 15

6:00 – Opening Address, Shaun King

7:15 – Dinner, Campus Club

8:30 – Tales from the Cell, McCosh 50

Saturday, April 16

All panels and workshops will be held in Whig Hall.

9:30-10:45 Panel I – Immigration

11:00-12:00 Workshops I

12:15-1:30 Lunch

1:45-3:00 Panel II – Gender and Sexual Identity

3:15-4:15 Workshops II

4:30-5:45 Panel III – Anti-Black Policing and Carceral Practices

7:30-9 Student banquet

Sunday, April 17: Day of student activism

10:00-11:15 Presentations from student researchers at University of Chicago and Princeton & Breakfast Reception

11:15 National Lawyers’ Guild Know Your RIghts workshop for activists and protesters

12:30-1:30 Lunch

1:30-2:30 Princeton Prison Divestment Teach-in

Speakers for this year’s conference include:

Shaun King, senior justice columnist for the New York Daily News

Shaun King is one of many voices—though an increasingly prominent voice—within the Black Lives Matter movement. He has written extensively about the Black Lives Matter movement, covering discrimination, police brutality, the prison industrial complex, and social justice in the wake of violence in New York, Baltimore, Cleveland, Ferguson, Missouri, Charleston, South Carolina, and other cities. He is Senior Justice Writer at the New York Daily News, and was Justice Writer for Daily Kos.

Dominique Fenton, Youth and Family Court Judge in Oglala Sioux Tribal Court

Dominique A. Fenton serves as the Youth and Family Court Judge in Oglala Sioux Tribal Court. He oversees all legal proceedings involving minors on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home to the Oglala Lakota Nation and some 40,000 people.

Immigration Panel

Eddy Zheng, Activist

Eddy Zheng (鄭小飛) is a Chinese immigrant who spent 21 years of his life in prison for crimes he committed at the age of 16. Since his return to the free world, Eddy has dedicated his life to serving the youth and communities of the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

Aviva Stahl, Journalist

Aviva Stahl is a Brooklyn-based independent journalist who writes about prisons, national security and immigration detention. You can follow her @stahlidarity.

Noel Micho, Activist with Families for Freedom

Noel Micho is a member of Families for Freedom, a New York-based multi-ethnic human rights organization by and for families facing and fighting deportation. After 18 years of living in the States since immigrating Kenya, he was incarcerated by ICE twice – in 2008 and 2014 – spending more than 3 years in immigration detention. Now, he works with Families for Freedom and other advocacy groups, including New Jersey’s First Friends, to fight against the criminal and immigration systems of oppression.

Gender and Sexual Identity Panel

Dorian Needham, Staff Attorney at Immigration Equality

As the co-manager of Immigration Equality’s Pro Bono Program, Dorian works to expand and enhance our asylum project for LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants. He also directly represents clients in immigration proceedings at all levels.

Jamila Hammami, Executive Director of the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project

Jamila is a queer first­ generation Tunisian­ Arab American woman of color community organizer & social worker from the south, now based in NYC. She is a founder and Executive Director of the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project. She is also a leader of the NYC chapter of Black & Pink, an organization run and led by those that are currently or are previously incarcerated and free world allies.

Anti-Black Policing and Carceral Practices Panel

Michael Wood, Former Baltimore Police Officer

Michael A. Wood, Jr. is a retired Baltimore police officer and veteran of the USMC. He recently made the news for publicly speaking out against police brutality and has become a proponent of a new era of policing.

Phillipe Copeland, Director, Dual Degree Program in Social Work and Theology and Clinical Assistant Professor at the Boston University School of Social Work

Dr. Phillipe Copeland is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Boston University School of Social Work. His scholarship, teaching and practice focus on the abolition of white supremacy and helping survivors recover from its consequences, with an emphasis on the criminal legal system. 

Nazgol Ghandnoosh, Research Analyst at the Sentencing Project

Nazgol Ghandnoosh, Ph.D., is a research analyst at The Sentencing Project who conducts and synthesizes research on criminal justice policies. She analyzes racial disparities in the justice system, public opinion about punishment, and the scope of reform efforts.


Kevin Kempf, Director of the Idaho Department of Correction

As director, Kempf oversees the entirety of IDOC’s operations including its nine prisons, four community re-entry centers and seven probation and parole districts. Under Kempf’s leadership, the Department of Correction is experiencing reform in almost every area. Projects like Justice Reinvestment, Justice Program Assessment and Restrictive Housing Reform will have many positive effects on the system and elevate IDOC as one of the best corrections agencies in the country.

Victoria Law, Freelance writer and editor

Victoria Law is a freelance journalist who writes about the intersections of incarceration, gender and resistance. She has written for Al Jazeera America, Bitch Magazine, The Guardian, The Nation and Truthout. She is also the author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women. 


Registration is now open for this spring’s conference, using these links:

Here for current Princeton students

Here for non-Princeton students

Here for community members

More information here:

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Upcoming Events

Anita Hill Lecture
Apr 10, 2019 @ 4:30 pm