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Researching Mass Incarceration and Prison Abolition: Home

A research guide created by Brooklyn Law School's librarians to assist those who wish to identify resources on mass incarceration and prison abolition. This guide highlights selected New York-specific events and sources.

Tip: We Are Still Developing This Guide

Our librarians continue to develop this research guide and Brooklyn Law School Library's collection. When you access this guide in future, please reload this web page

Events in the New York Metropolitan Area

Talks in the Othmer: What's Prison For? (presented by Brooklyn Public Library & Center for Brooklyn History)

Date: Wed., Oct. 12, 2022
Time: 6:30 PM
Place: Center for Brooklyn History's Othmer Reading Room, 128 Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn, NY.
Participants: Wesley Caines (Chief of Staff at The Bronx Defenders), DeAnna R. Hoskins (President and CEO of JustLeadershipUSA) & Bill Keller (founding editor-in-chief of the Marshall Project).

Recording of Book Talk and Discussion That Occurred at Brooklyn Law School - The Women's House of Detention: A Queer History of a Forgotten Prison: A Conversation with Hugh Ryan, Writer and Curator 

Date: Mon. Sept. 19, 2022
Time: 6 PM
Place: Brooklyn Law School, 250 Joralemon St., Brooklyn, NY
Moderator: Kate Mogulescu, Associate Professor of Clinical Law, Brooklyn Law School

Book description: "This singular history of a prison, and the queer women and trans people held there, is a window into the policing of queerness and radical politics in the 20th century. The Women’s House of Detention, a landmark that ushered in the modern era of women’s imprisonment, is now largely forgotten. But when it stood in New York City’s Greenwich Village, from 1929 to 1974, it was a nexus for the tens of thousands of women, transgender men, and gender-nonconforming people who inhabited its crowded cells. Some were famous – Angela Davis, Andrea Dworkin, Afeni Shakur – but the vast majority were incarcerated for the crimes of being poor and improperly feminine. Today, approximately 40 percent of the people in women’s prisons identify as queer; in earlier decades, that percentage was almost certainly higher."

Beyond the Bars Conference, Center for Justice, Columbia University

Annual conference (occurs in March/April). The theme of the 2021 conference was: "Towards Freedom: Violence, Safety, and Abolition in 2021​." The 2021 conference was virtual, and this site provides links to conversations and panel discussions.​​​​

Book Donations

Would you like to donate a book (or books) to a public library collection at a New York City carceral facility or a residence for people reentering our community after incarceration?  

Prison Library Support NetworkBrooklyn's Greenlight Bookstore website hosts the Prison Library Support Network Wish List.

Q: Who chooses these books?

A: New York City library workers who offer library services to New York City's carceral facilities and residences.

Greenlight Bookstore explains that if you choose a book(s) and pay online, the shipping cost is included and the book(s) will be delivered to a public library collection in a New York City carceral facility or residence.

For more information about book donations, donation guidelines and highly requested types of books, visit this New York Public Library web page.

For information about Brooklyn Public Library's programs and services (including volunteer opportunities) for incarcerated individuals, visit this Brooklyn Public Library web page.

Brooklyn Law School Library Responds To Requests for Materials from Incarcerated Individuals

Brooklyn Law School LIbrary will fill requests from incarcerated individuals for specific materials (please include correct citations).  Please list the most desired materials first.  Due to budget and staffing constraints, requests are limited to one per month (per person), with a limit of 100 pages per request.   Because of licensing restrictions, sometimes our library cannot fill certain requests.  Our library staff mails photocopies and printouts of sources to an incarcerated individual's return address.  Please mail correspondence to:

Brooklyn Law School Library
250 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY  11201