POSTPONED! Criminal injustice: Mass incarceration and the US prison nation

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PLEASE NOTE: Unfortunately the lecture is postponed indefinitely, as Kathy Boudin is no longer able to travel in May due to a health issue. We hope that the event will take place later in the year, so please add your name to the waitlist if you would like to hear the details when they are available.


With 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prison population, the United States is the leading incarcerator in the world. In America’s so-called ‘justice' system, upwards of 80,000 people are now kept in solitary confinement, life sentences and life without parole are on the increase, and a new generation of ‘super-max’ prisons have been designed to minimize social contact between prisoners, a disproportionate majority of whom are African-American men.

How did this grossly unjust, racist and dehumanising system arise? What kind of economic and political interests keep it in place? What are the consequences for the particular communities most impacted by it, and for the wider American public? And what are the possibilities for its deconstruction?

This year’s annual Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust lecture will be delivered by Columbia University Professor and co-founder of the Center for Justice at Columbia University, U.S. advocate for ending mass incarceration, and former Weather Underground activist Kathy Boudin, with responses from distinguished UK human rights solicitors Gareth Peirce and Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC.

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