Extended Deadline - Global Prison Conference

deadline for submissions: 
August 10, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Centre for Social Change


Call for Papers


November 16, 2017 to November 18, 2017


South Africa

Subject Fields: 

Humanities, Social Sciences, Urban History / Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies, World History / Studies

CFP: The Global Prison: International Conference on Incarceration and social justice

University of Johannesburg’s Centre for Social Change

University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Johannesburg, South Africa

November 16 - 18, 2017

Keynote William G. Martin

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 control,

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-sectionally - time, space, and difference

Penitentiary systems in post-conflict societies

In/visible prisons

Please send abstracts (no more than 250 words) to the globalprisonconference@gmail.com with Global Prison in the subject line no later than August 10 2017. Queries can be sent to the same address with Query in the subject line.



Contact Info: 

Centre For Social Change, University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Johannesburg South Africa

Contact Email: