NEW YORK CITY, March 9 – Activists, students, intellectuals, and revolutionaries will convene this weekend at Columbia Law School for Critical Resistance East, a conference organized to fight the hyper-incarceration of America, in particular, people of color. Panels will focus on drug laws, expansion of prisons, prison privatization, the disproportionate incarceration of people of color, mandatory sentencing, women, prison & globalization, and political prisoners, but to name a few. Organizers expect Thousands to participate in the regional conference to challenge the use of Prisons as a Solution to social problems.

The United States spends more on prisons and incarcerates more people than any other industrialized country in the world. Currently two million people are behind bars in the United States and another 4.5 million are on probation and parole. During President Clinton’s eight years in office, prisons filled at a record pace, with rates for African Americans increasing at significantly higher rates than whites.

Seeking to expose the injustice of what is now referred to as the ‘prison industrial complex’ and to outline solutions based on alternatives to prison; social justice advocates, scholars, former prisoners, family members of prisoners, students, and hundreds of activists from throughout the northeast will participate in Critical Resistance East: Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex (CRE). The conference will take place at Columbia University Law School from March 9th -11th.

The 3-day conference is designed to initiate a dialogue on the issues to collectively build new strategies against the systemic injustices in courts, policing and prisons. Critical Resistance East is a regional conference, which will focus on 12 states in the mid-Atlantic region and the northeast.

The 1998 Critical Resistance Conference in Berkeley, California, which attracted over 3,600 people and established a framework for this new movement, inspired CRE. CRE will present an array of panels, roundtable discussions, workshops and cultural performances. A schedule detailing participants and times of activities will be available shortly. For updates consult the conference website For press information call Mahdis Keshavarz at 212 260-5000.

Readings and Resources


The Abolition of the Death Penalty in International Law, William A. Schabas, Cambridge University Press, 1997

Against Capital Punishment: The Anti-Death Penalty Movement in America, 1972-1994, Herbert H. Haines94, Herbert H. Haines, Oxford University Press, 1996

All Things Censored, Mumia Abu Jamal et. al, Seven Stories Press, 2000

. . . and the Poor Get Prison: Economic Bias in American Criminal Justice, Jeffrey Reiman, Allyn and Bacon, 1996

Assata: An Autobiography, Assata Shakur, Lawrence Hill & Co, 1987

The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Ballantine Books/Random House, 1964

Black Men in Prison: The Response of the African American Church, Gayraud Wilmore, ed., The ITC Press, 1990 (The Interdenominational Theological Center, 671 Beckwith Street, S.W. Atlanta, GA 30314)

Black Prison Movements, The NOBO Journal of AfricanAmerican Dialogue, Volume II Number I, Africa World Press, 1995

Black Robes, White Justice, Bruce Wright, Lyle Stuart, 1987

A Call to Action: An Analysis and Overview of the United States Criminal Justice System, with Recommendations, From the National Commission on Crime and Justice, Linda M. Thurston, Edi Thurston, Editor, Third World Press, 1993

The Celling of America: An Inside Look at the U.S. Prison Industry, Daniel Burton-Rose, Dan Pens and Paul Wright, Editors, Common Courage Press, 1998

Crime and Capitalism: Readings in Marxist Criminology, Greenberg, Ed, Temple University Press, 1993

Crime and Punishment in America, Elliot Currie, Henry Holt and Company/Owl Books, 1998

Criminal Injustice: Confronting the Prison Crisis, Elihu Rosenblatt, Editor, South End Press, 1996

In Defense of Mumia, S.E. Anderson and Tony Media, ed., Writers and Readers Publishing, 1996

In Spite of Innocence: The Ordeal of 400 Americans Wrongly Convicted of Crimes Punishable by Death, Michael L. Radelet, Hugo Adam Bedau and Constance E. Putnam, Northeastern University Press, 1992

Inadmissable Evidence:The Story of the African-American Trial Lawyer Who Defended the Black Liberation Army, Evelyn Williams, Lawrence Hill Books, 1993

Instead of Prisons, Prison Research Education Action Project, Safer Society Press, 1986

Live From Death Row, Mumia Abu Jamal, Avon Paperbacks, 1996

Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis, Christian Parenti, Verso Books, September 1999

The Machinery of Death: A Shocking Indictment of Capital Punishment in the United States, Amnesty International U.S.A., 1995

Malign Neglect: Race, Crime and Punishment in America, Michael Tonry, Oxford University Press, 1995

No More Prisons, William Upski Wimsatt, Soft Skull Press, 1999,,

The Perpetual Prisoner Machine: How America Profits from Crime, Joel Dyer, Westview Press, 1999

Police Brutality: An Anthology, Jill Nelson, W.W. Norton, 2000

Prison Writing: My Life Is My Sundance, Leonard Peltier, nard Peltier, St. Martin’s Press, 1999

A Punishment in Search of a Crime, Ian Gray and Moira Stanley for Amnesty International USA, Avon Books, 1989

The Prisoner’s Wife: A Memoir, asha bandele, Pocket Books, 2000

Race to Incarcerate, Marc Mauer/The Sentencing Project, The New Press, 1999

The Real War on Crime: The Report of the National Criminal Justice Commission, Steven R. Donziger, Editor, Harper Perennial, 1996

Search and Destroy: African-American Males in the Criminal Justice System, Jerome G. Miller, Cambridge University Press, 1996

Struggle for Justice: A Report on Crime and Punishment in America, prepared for the American Friends Service Committee, Hill and Wang, 1971

The Trial of Leonard Peltier, Jim Messerschmidt, South End Press, 1983

Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice, David M. Oshinsky, TheFree Press, 1996


The Prison Industrial Complex, by Linda Evans and Eve Goldberg, AK Press Distribution, 1998


America Behind Bars: The Series; Lock Down USA; The Last Graduation; and Millions for Mumia (Deep Dish TV, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012,

The Farm: Life Inside Angola Prison, 1998

Incident at Oglala: The Leonard Peltier Story, 1992

Mumia Abu Jamal: A Case for Reasonable Doubt, 1996

Through the Wire, 1990

Author: Mahdis Keshavarz

News Service: Critical Resistance


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