BFU & Sisters Inside Present: Why The Prison Abolition Movement Must be Global

Brisbane Free University is excited to join with Sisters Inside  to present a panel conversation: “Why The Prison Abolition Movement Must be Global”. The event correlates with “Is Prison Obsolete?” the prison abolition conference that will be held over the 8th, 9th & 10th October 2014.

The night will run as follows:

Acknowledgement of country: Aunty Valda Coolwell

Feature presentation: Angela Davis

Panel Discussion:

Angela Davis
Erica Meiners
Gina Dent
Kim Pate
Sharon McIvor
Deborah Coles
Debbie Kilroy
Cassandra Shaylor
Antoinette Braybrook

Discussion time, questions and answers.

Time: October 8, 7pm – 9pm

Place: South Leagues Club, Jane Street, Davies Park, West End, Brisbane, QLD, 4101.

Entry: gold coin donation for Sisters Inside Young Women’s Art Program.

About the speakers (as per the “Is Prison Obsolete” conference website):

Angela Davis
Author & Activist
Through her activism and scholarship over the last decades, Angela Davis has been deeply involved in our nation’s quest for social justice. Her work as an educator – both at the university level and in the larger public sphere – has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice.

Professor Davis’ teaching career has taken her to San Francisco State University, Mills College, and UC Berkeley. She also has taught at UCLA, Vassar, the Claremont Colleges, and Stanford University. She spent the last fifteen years at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she is now Distinguished Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness, an interdisciplinary Ph.D program, and of Feminist Studies.

Angela Davis is the author of nine books and has lectured throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America. In recent years a persistent theme of her work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. She draws upon her own experiences in the early seventies as a person who spent eighteen months in jail and on trial, after being placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.” Davis has also conducted extensive research on numerous issues related to race, gender and imprisonment. Her most recent book is The Meaning of Freedom and Other Difficult Dialogues.

Davis is a founding member Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to the dismantling of the prison industrial complex. Internationally, she is affiliated with Sisters Inside, an abolitionist organization based in Queensland, Australia that works in solidarity with women in prison.

Like many other educators, Professor Davis is especially concerned with the general tendency to devote more resources and attention to the prison system than to educational institutions. Having helped to popularize the notion of a “prison industrial complex,” she now urges her audiences to think seriously about the future possibility of a world without prisons and to help forge a 21st century abolitionist movement.

Dr. Erica R. Meiners
Author & Activist
Based in Chicago, I am in involved with a number of initiatives working for justice.
With others, I am a starter, and still a teacher and a coordinator, of an alternative high school for men and women who have been incarcerated, St. Leonard’s Adult High School. In 2009, I co-authored the first LGBTQ audit of teacher education programs in the U.S. Visibility Matters. I collaborated to develop Women and Prison: A Site of Resistance and TAME: Teachers Against Militarized Education.

I am the author of a number of books: Right to be hostile: Schools, prisons and the making of public enemies (Routledge 2007), Public acts: Disruptive readings on making curriculum public with Francisco Ibáñez-Carrasco (Routledge 2004), and my new book with Therese Quinn, is Flaunt It! Queers organizing for public education and justice. I also write articles in a range of publications including AREA Chicago, ReThinking Schools, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Meridians, and Upping the Anti. Check out my article in the latest issue of Radical Teacher. I blog about resistances, Canadiana and pop cultures for MS Magazine.

Work with allies in Chicago about the lives and organizing of undocumented youth is out, including a piece in Social Justice Journal, and Academe. I will be a sister at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute in Montreal, continuing work on fear, childhood and protection. I am also facilitating/participating in a Communiversity through Project NIA and the Chicago Freedom School.
My day job is a Professor of Education and Women’s Studies at Northeastern Illinois University – a public, urban institution in Chicago where I am also a union member of UPI. I am into making jam, trying to keep my bees alive, all kinds of music, and long distance running.

Gina Dent
University of California
Gina is Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies at UC Santa Cruz, having previously taught at Princeton, Columbia, and UC Berkeley. She has published on African American literature and art, and also works on African American women and the prison-industrial complex.

Kim Pate
Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies
Kim is mother to Michael and Madison. She is a lawyer and teacher by training and has completed post graduate work in the area of forensic mental health.

Kim is the Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS), a federation of autonomous societies that work with, and on behalf of, marginalized, victimized, criminalized and institutionalized women and girls, throughout Canada. Kim is also a part-time professor at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, where she teaches courses on prison law, and defending battered women on trial.

Kim is an expert on the federal prison system, and on the conditions and treatment of criminalized women in Canada, and has also worked with youth and men during her 30 years of working in and around the legal and penal systems. She is the recipient of a number of awards in recognition of her work on equality and human rights. She was honorary doctorates awarded by the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, and Sir Wilfrid Laurier University.

Dr. Sharon McIvor
Activist & Academic
Dr. Sharon McIvor is an indigenous activist and academic. She is a member of the Lower Nicola Indian Band located outside of Merritt B.C. She has a law degree from the University of Victoria, a Masters of Laws degree from Queens University and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Victoria. . McIvor is an Instructor, Indigenous Studies, at Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, Merritt, British Columbia.

She writes and speaks on women’s rights in the context of Aboriginal self-government. McIvor has worked in the areas of prison reform, violence against women (including aboriginal women), disability rights, aboriginal rights and equality rights. She was a member of the Wilson Task Force on the Status of Women in the Legal Profession and the Task Force on federally Sentenced Women. McIvor chaired the Committee that designed and built the Okima Ochi Healing Lodge, a federal Penitentiary designed for Aboriginal Women, in Saskatchewan.

She has played a key leadership role in the Native Women’s Association of Canada for many years and is a member of the Feminist Alliance for International Action (this NGO successfully requested that the CEDAW Committee institute an Inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada) and the BC CEDAW coalition. McIvor, as plaintiff in the McIvor v. Canada case has successfully challenged the ongoing discrimination in the Indian Act which has forced the Federal Government to amend the Indian Act (the “McIvor” amendments). The “McIvor” Amendments added approximately 45,000 newly recognized Indians to the Indian Registry. McIvor has, as counsel, appeared in the Supreme Court of Canada on numerous occasions. She also takes her advocacy to the United Nations and Inter America Commission on Human Rights at an international level.

Debbie Kilroy
Sisters Inside Inc.
Debbie Kilroy OAM, MLB, GDFMenH, GDLPrac, BSocWk is a former prisoner and the CEO of Sisters Inside-an independent community organisation in Brisbane, Australia that advocates for the human rights of criminalised women. Kilroy is a strong, active advocate for the implementation and monitoring of human rights within women’s prisons and works against discriminatory practices. Kilroy has participated in several international meetings, including the expert meeting to develop the UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (Bangkok Rules) and the Commission on the Status of Women sessions annually. She is the first person convicted of serious criminal offences admitted to practice law in Australia. Her expertise is in criminal defence law.

Deborah Coles
Deborah is a committed activist working on social justice issues. As Co-Director of a unique charity that provides expertise on contentious deaths and their investigation with a particular focus on custodial death. Deborah leads the policy, legal and strategic work for social change and has considerable expertise in working to prevent the deaths and ill treatment of people in all forms of detention, and in campaigning for more effective learning and state and corporate accountability. She is regularly consulted by government, parliamentarians, regulation, inspection and investigation bodies, coroners, human rights lawyers, NGO’s and international human rights groups. She given written and oral evidence to numerous parliamentary inquiries and has been appointed as an expert on a variety of committees and reference groups including the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody. She has expertise in specialist areas including coronial reform, policing, human rights compliant investigations, traumatic bereavement, family liaison, juvenile and youth justice, race and gender and criminal justice.

Deborah’s campaigning work around the deaths of women in prison was instrumental in persuading the government to set up the review of women with vulnerabilities in the criminal justice system ‘The Corston report’ and she was an active member of its reference group. She is co-author of ‘Dying On the Inside: Examining Women’s Deaths in Prison’ an in-depth analysis of women’s deaths and their broader social and political context. It argues for the abolition of prison for women and for investment in community based projects.

She has delivered conference papers nationally and internationally and is the co-author of three seminal books on custodial deaths and author of numerous articles and publications. She has advised on radio and TV documentaries and collaborated on theatre productions on social justice issues and is a regular media commentator.

She is also the Chair of trustees for, a trustee of Theatre Company

Twitter @debatINQUEST

Cassandra Shaylor
Justice Now USA
Cassandra Shaylor is an attorney and activist based in Oakland, CA. She is the co-founder of Justice Now, an abolitionist organization and training center focused on people in US women’s prisons. Her academic work focuses on issues of women in prison, abolition, and the intersections of race, sexuality and gender in the prison industrial complex. Over the years she has been active with numerous anti-prison and abolitionist organizations, including organizing with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners and co-founding Critical Resistance.

Antoinette Braybrook 
Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service in Victoria
Antoinette Braybrook is the CEO of the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service in Victoria. Antoinette is an Aboriginal woman who was born in Victoria on Wurundjeri country. Antoinette’s grandfather and mother’s line is through the Kuku Yalangi, North Queensland. Antoinette graduated Bachelor of Laws at Deakin University in 2000 and was admitted as a legal practitioner in Victoria in 2004. Antoinette is a member of the Victorian Aboriginal Justice Forum, the peak coordinating body responsible for overseeing the development, implementation and direction of Koori initiatives under the Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement and the Indigenous Family Violence Partnership Forum as well as other committees and forums. Antoinette also currently holds the position of National Convenor for the National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum which comprises 13 organisations responsible for delivery of the FVPLS Program servicing 31 high-need regional and remote areas in Australia.

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