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Kitchener-Waterloo, ON

Breaking Bars, Building Bridges

Challenging the Prison System & Fostering Communities of Support

Friday February 10 2012
- 6:00pm
Sunday February 12 2012

Venue: University of Waterloo (J. R. Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall a.k.a. "RCH" Building)
Address: 200 University Ave. W., Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
Cost: Free
Accessibility: TBA

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Breaking Bars, Building Bridges:

Challenging the Prison System & Fostering Communities of Support


Friday February 10 – Sunday February 12, 2012


As social and environmental justice activists struggle for a just world, one without oppression or inhumanity, where the earth is respected and all are free, we must realize that the context of our work is changing. Harper’s crime bill agenda will see an escalation in the criminalization of dissent, activism, and direct action. As social supports for the poor continue to evaporate under neoliberal attacks, more members of our community will end up behind bars, even as global resistance to the austerity agenda continues to mount. And while the government and corporations continue to pillage indigenous lands and suppress community self-determination, Aboriginal people make up a massively disproportionate segment of the prison population.

Acknowledging the importance of these realities to grassroots organizing, WPIRG’s 2012 School of Public Interest will focus on the theme ‘Challenging the Prison System & Fostering Communities of Support’. The 2012 conference will explore the role of prisons in our lives and our society, with a critical emphasis on the prison industrial complex, the intersections between oppression and crime/criminalization, and the ways that activists challenge and are impacted by the law and policing. The gathering will provide a space for in-depth conversations on prison justice, training in support and advocacy for prisoners, explorations of concepts like abolition and transformative justice, and opportunities for networking, strategizing, and building prison justice analysis and activism into our interrelated struggles. Sessions will include panels, presentations, interactive workshops, group discussions, and working meetings.



(please note, due to the media coop's text formatting, full and clear schedule information is hard to upload. please see our website at for more detailed info!)



Venue: The Button Factory, 25 Regina St. S. (2nd floor)

7 PM – 8PM

Keynote Address

Ann Hansen

8PM - Midnight

When Words Resist 3: A Showcase of Radical Spoken Word Poetry

Featuring local poets, spoken word artists, and art from prisoners; hosted by KW artist/activist Janice Lee



Venue: J. R. Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall a.k.a. "RCH" Building (University of Waterloo campus)

9 AM – 9:30 AM


9:30 AM - 10 AM

Opening Ceremony

10 AM – 12 PM

Criminalization of Dissent 101

Introduction to the Prison Industrial Complex

“Can we Send Cookies to Prisoners?” Activist Prisoner Support & Interacting with Prisons 101

Criminalizing Poor Communities: Repression & Resistance

12 PM – 1 PM


1 PM – 2 PM

Is Canadian crime policy becoming “Americanized”?

1 PM – 2:30 PM

Red Lips [Cages for Black Girls]

Panel: Holding Ourselves Together: Experiences of Prisoner and Community Support Organizations (followed by break-out sessions)

1 PM – 3 PM

Panel: Fighting the Law: Social Justice in the Courtrooms

2 PM – 4 PM

The Save Our Prison Farms Campaign, 2009-2012

2:30 PM – 4 PM

Break-Out: Open Door Books/Books to Prisoners

Break-Out: PASAN

Break-Out: Prisoner Correspondence Project

Break-Out: Nyki Kish Support Network

Break-Out: Supporting Ourselves while Supporting our Loved Ones

3 PM – 4 PM

In an Age of Fear: Political Activism with a Transgender Perspective

4 PM – 6 PM

Freeing the Human Spirit

Noise Demos and Prisoner Solidarity

Disability and Incarceration

Federal Prisoners Discuss the Effects of C-10

The Men Against Sexism Uprising

7 PM – 9 PM

Performance: In the Belly



9 AM – 10 AM


10 AM – 11 AM

Organizing Street & Gang Youth Inside and Outside

10 AM – 12 PM

The Lucasville Uprising

The Double Punishment of Migrants

Waves Through Walls: Prison Radio in Canada

11 AM – 12 PM

Freedom and Justice for John Moore

12 PM – 1 PM


1 PM – 2 PM

Women’s Experiences of Incarceration

1 PM – 3 PM

Strategies for Resisting Prison Construction

Parole Sans Parole: Performing Resistance with the Termite Collective

Organizing Against Police Impunity

Migrant Labour Exploitation & the Detention of Migrants

2 PM – 3 PM

Running Down the Walls 2012: Building a Prison Country-wide Support Event

3 PM – 5 PM

Panel A: Preparing for Conflict and Repression

Panel B: Prisoner Support and Beyond: Building Safer Communities

5 PM – 5:30 PM

Closing Ceremony



Organizer:WPIRG, (519) 888-4882,

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Kalin (Kalin Stacey)
Member since November 2011


Solidarity activist based in the Haudenosaunee Grand River Territory. Currently an editor and host for Grand River Radical Radio, which is a new project of the Grand River Media Collective. We provide a daily news show on, for and from the grassroots. You can find our podcasts hosted at, and sometimes here at the TMC.

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