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Significant Challenges Discussed at Gender and Incarceration Symposium

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2016 - 2:12 PM All News , Law

“One in every three women incarcerated in the world are incarcerated right here in the United States”

Gender and Incarceration Symposium


On Friday, October 14, 2016, Western New England University School of Law hosted the daylong Gender and Incarceration Symposium in the Blake Law Common, organized and supported by Western New England Law Review and the Clason Speaker Series.

Scholars from across the country gathered for an interdisciplinary discussion of issues facing incarcerated individuals such as parental rights, treatment of transgender inmates, sexual orientation-based segregation, sexual violence, pregnancy, solitary confinement, and the intersection of race and gender in confinement.

“The mass incarceration system which entraps black and brown men is a backlash to the civil rights gains of the 1960,” remarked Associate Professor of History Jen Manion, from Amherst College. “It is an ever expanding web of control and violence.” Manion is the author of two books, Liberty's Prisoners: Carceral Culture in Early America, and  Taking Back the Academy: History of Activism, History as Activism. Manion is currently working on her third book titled, “Born in the Wrong Time: Transgender Archives & the History of Possibility, 1740-1890.” 

“One in every three women incarcerated in the world are incarcerated right here in the United States,” explained Rachel Roth, author of Breaking Promises: Violations of the Massachusetts Pregnancy Standards and Anti-Shackling Law. “Although Massachusetts has a reputation as being a progressive state, a few years ago, when other states were repealing their three-strikes laws, Massachusetts passed one.” 

Also presenting at the symposium were Professor Gabriel Arkles from Northeastern University, Brenda Smith from Washington College of Law at American University, Terry Kupers from the Wright Institute, and Carol Strickman from Legal Services for Prisoners with Children.

The Symposium concluded with a panel moderated by Erin Buzuvis, Law Professor and Director of the Center for Gender & Sexuality Studies at Western New England, providing the symposium attendees an opportunity to delve more deeply into the topics discussed throughout the day. Western New England Law Review Symposium Editor Samantha J. LeBoeuf, and Editor-in-Chief Sarah A. Morgan planned and organized this successful symposium.   

“I believe social awareness is an important catalyst for reform,” explained Samantha LeBoeuf. “The symposium created an opportunity to discuss issues that otherwise go unheard. We were proud to host such a wonderful group of scholars and practitioners for an informative and interdisciplinary discussion.”