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Abolishing the Criminal Punishment System?
December 8, 2020 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm EST

The National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL) Criminal Justice Section’s focus is to fulfill the mission of NCBL to serve as the legal arm of the Movement for Black Liberation by dismantling the criminal punishment system in the United States and replacing it with a system that has as its priority ensuring that all communities have the essentials necessary for them to thrive. We advocate that behavior that violates the codes of honesty and sanctity of life be addressed within the framework of a community-based approach. Ultimately, the goal of the Section is to create a system to address what is now termed “criminal” behavior in ways that heal and restore. When the community determines that punishment is needed, it should be imposed in a humanistic, holistic, fair, and just manner. The Section therefore supports and will work towards the abolition of the prison industrial complex and its systems of mass incarceration and over- policing. This includes dismantling all of the laws, structures, policies, and practices that target Black activists and criminalize their demands for justice; that criminalize Black immigrants and subject them to detention and deportation; and that trap many Black people into a permanent second-class status.

We understand that the first step in realizing this vision of dismantling prisons and policing is to ensure that there is a shared understanding among our supporters and allies of the issues that our people face and the essentiality of implementing this vision. This shared knowledge and vision will be taken throughout communities in the United States to educate them and build on the movement articulated by NCBL’s client and sister, Angela Y. Davis, to abolish the current criminal punishment system.

The Criminal Justice Section works with other organizations and groups that embrace the goal of dismantling the prison industrial complex that drives mass incarceration.




The National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL)