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Prison Conferences to be Held in Ohio, California

A conference described as “a Midwest convergence in support of prisoners’ struggles” is scheduled to be held in Columbus, Ohio from August 26-29. Titled “Bend the Bars 2016,” the event will consist of a series of workshops and discussions on issues related to mass incarceration and prisoner advocacy.

According to the conference organizers, “We hope to assemble a diverse group of individuals, groups, and organizations that are united by a desire to work against prisons, in support of our friends and family members who are locked up.... Long-term supporters, former prisoners, prisoners’ families as well as those who are just starting out and wanting to learn more are all encouraged to attend.”

The event is also expected to include a public demonstration in Columbus to show support and solidarity with prisoners and former prisoners.

In addition to other topics, the conference will discuss a planned national action on September 9, 2016 – the anniversary of the Attica rebellion – that includes non-violent work strikes at prisons nationwide. The protests are intended to call attention to the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which includes an exception for prison slave labor. The 13th Amendment states: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.”

In addition to the conference in Columbus, the UCLA Prisoners’ Advocates Conference will be held at the UCLA School of Law in Los Angeles from September 23-24, 2016. That event, for attorneys and other advocates for prisoners’ rights, will address prison medical and mental health care, solitary confinement, use of force and prisoners with disabilities, among numerous other issues.


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