Rethinking Mass Incarceration in the South (2014)



April 13-15, 2014

University of Mississippi

Click here for a PDF version of this call for papersScreen Shot 2014-03-26 at 10.56.58 AM

As a region, the South is comprised of two states that continue to imprison the most persons per capita in the U.S.:  Louisiana and Mississippi.  Responding to rising rates of incarceration and recidivism in the South, the U.S.’s ongoing position as world leader in imprisonment, and the resultant need for productive regional and national conversations about mass incarceration, The University of Mississippi will host its first “Rethinking Mass Incarceration in the South” conference on April 13-15, 2014.  In addition to sharing knowledge, experiences, and scholarship, we hope to develop action plans aimed at radically transforming the South’s legal and incarceration systems, including the launching of a prison-to-college program at Mississippi State Penitentiary/Parchman Farm.

We invite scholars of the legal and prison systems, professionals, formerly incarcerated individuals, policy makers, judicial personnel, educators, and activists to propose panels, papers, and poster sessions focusing particularly on Southern incarceration and justice systems, including policies, sentencing, populations, civil rights, human rights, and social justice issues and facilities.  Features of the conference will include a session at Parchman Farm and keynote addresses by Dylan Rodriguez, author of Forced Passages: Imprisoned Radical Intellectuals and the U.S. Prison Regime and Vikki Law, author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women

Suggested topics include but are not limited to:

  • Rethinking and Transforming the South’s legal and prison systems.
  • Addressing the problems associated with the South’s incarceration system, policies, civil and human rights abuses, equity and social justice issues.
  • Calculating the economic costs of mass incarceration.
  • Analyzing the South’s juvenile justice system.
  • Focusing on why the majority of prisoners in the South are non-violent prisoners and the effects of this on the region’s economic, social, and political systems.
  • Highlighting how age, race, gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality, and/or nativity impact the South’s incarceration rate, recidivism, the treatment of the incarcerated, vocational and educational opportunities, or privileges and abuses within the South’s prisons and jails.
  • Developing solutions for formerly incarcerated persons in the South, e.g. how to create an infrastructure by which re-entry is a smoother transition.

Please submit a paragraph describing the paper, poster, or discussion session (no longer than 200 words) and a brief biography or c.v.  We also welcome panels. Please address any questions and send all materials to: no later than January 1st, 2014.

Registration – 

Registration Page

Waiver – 

On Monday April 14, a day long session will be held at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.  This will entail traveling from the UM Campus to Parchman in the morning and returning by late afternoon.  Any one participating in this session will need to fill in the waiver form and follow the rules and regulations available for download below.  Completed forms must be turned in IN ADVANCE of the visit (deadline is March 31st). Conference participant interested in taking part in this session must send a completed waiver form to Dr. Linda Keena,  Associate Professor Legal Studies at Any questions regarding the trip to Parchman should be directed to Dr. Keena.

Parchman Forms 4-15-2014

Program –

Preliminary Schedule

Housing – 

The Inn at Ole Miss on the campus of The University of Mississippi is the official conference hotel. Conference rates range from $104-124 a night. To get the conference rate, call 1-888-486-7666 before March 14th and reference Mass Incarceration Group. The Inn’s website is

Oxford also offers several national chain hotels as well.

Getting to Oxford –

Oxford is located about 70 miles southeast of Memphis, TN and Memphis International Airport is the closest major airport.

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