Welcome to the first Summer Institute for Peace in Civil Society at Brock University (Hamilton campus), 2018!
July 18 to 19, 2018
This year we focus on juveniles (12-17), youth (18-30) and gangs. Why start with this focus? As human civilization faces unprecedented dangers of its making, we begin with the recognition that ‘our youth are our future’. Government responses to youth gangs around the world centre on short-term militaristic tactics based on fear, hatred and misrepresentation. The result has been a blaming of youth for violence but this perspective avoids basic acknowledgment that the expansion and deepening of gang culture among youth is spurred by the ‘structural’ violence of fear mongering by politicians, repressive tactics of police, over-use of incarceration and intensifying exclusion of already marginalized youth.
Given this alternative view, the Institute begins from the premise that youth gangs are a rational response to irrational and traumatic conditions arising from youth-hating ideologies and the coincidence or design of public policy. Aggressive laws and law enforcement, poverty by policy, colonialism, homophobia, racism, sexism and the school to prison pipeline are among the sites which generate the conditions to which youths respond to the failings of civil society, policy makers and their elders. Civil society organizations, engagement of representative politics, schools and detention centres are also sites at which we can begin to demonstrate to youth the caring and peaceful measures we want them to emulate.
Please note that this web page will be updated regularly with new and exciting information regarding the 2018 Summer Institute.
Brock University Hamilton campus
1842 King St E, Hamilton, ON L8K 1V7
“Non-violence…struggl[es] to secure moral ends through moral means…”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.: London, December 7, 1964
- It is the result of consultation and community-researcher engagement, November 2017.
- Be a meeting and collaborative space for citizens, communities of practice and researchers (hereafter, ‘stakeholders’) from local, national and international spaces to explore peaceful measures to conflicts and suffering in civil society
- Be a space for stakeholders to identify, think about, promote and explore:
- theories and practices of non-violence and
- alternatives to the violence of routine public policy responses to social problems
- Facilitate an innovative gathering of local, national and international communities of practice, citizens and researchers committed to prison abolition, conflict resolution and peace-building capacity in civil society
- Mobilize knowledge to strengthen the achievement of peace through the respect and protection of individual, group and collective sovereignty
- Promote strategies for sharing program assessment
The SIPCS is one outcome of a November 2017 initiative lead by Dr. Tamari Kitossa to establish an ongoing conversation respecting Community-Researcher Alliance for Prison Abolition, Conflict Resolution and Peace-Building in Civil Society. This event was funded by the Social Justice Research Institute, Sociology Department and MA in Social Justice, all at Brock University.
2018 Institute Framework
The first day of the Summer Institute focuses on strategies, practices and policies for youth gang demobilization. Workshop topics may include and are not limited to: disarmament and demobilization; gang classification and its problems and limits; half-way housing and supporting ex-gang members; prisons and gang entrenchment; the role for religion in gang exit; community courts and conflict resolution.
The second day focuses on initiatives that facilitate autonomy and competence for the exit of gang members and their inclusion and reintegration towards restorative community relations. Workshop topics may include and are not limited to: cooperative economic enterprises; individual and community trauma recovery therapy; occupational skills training and development; education initiatives that enhance and reinforce collaboration and conflict resolution; gang truces and community engagement; women girls and gangs.
Workshop leaders geographical profile:
- International workshop leaders from El Salvador, Liberia and New Zealand
- National workshop leaders from Saskatchewan
- Local and regional workshop leaders from southern Ontario
- The Summer Institute will encourage communities of practice and researchers to promote the development and awareness for responsibility through a non-deficit approach that will identify the capacities, competencies and talents of youths and effective strategies for gang demobilization
- The event is a police-free zone event
Workshop leader competencies:
- Peace huts
- Gang exit and demobilization
- Halfway housing
- Social enterprises and skills training and development
- Gang exit skills development and social enterprises
- Health and sexuality
- Gender and women’s rights
- Lived experience of gang life
- Counselling and therapy
Prison Abolition Symposium
Women, Punishment and Prison Abolition:
How gender Structures the Prison System
In Commemoration of
International Women’s Day
Pond Inlet in McKenzie Chown Complex
MARCH 6, 2017 | 9 AM – 5 PM
Join ex-prisoners, academics, activists, artists and health care workers for discussion and strategies toward the abolition of the prison industrial complex in this March 6 pre-International Women’s Day event.
In honour of International Women’s Day (March 8), “A Symposium for Women, Punishment and Prison Abolition: How gender Structures the Prison System” (March 6) draws on Angela Davis’ observation that gender is at the heart of structuring the prison industrial complex. With the incarceration of women and gender non-conforming persons statistically outpacing that of men, the 21st century is continuing an upward trend that started in the late 1980s. While women and gender non-conforming persons are 5 percent of all prisoners in Canada, their numbers are growing. Among other issues, this leads to overcrowding, underfunding of in-prison health resources, low emphasis on in-prison programs and pre-release planning, high recidivism due to under-resourced post-release programs, and, negative impacts for women’s families and communities.
Historically women are punished more harshly, longer and generally for less serious criminal offences than men. Around the world women and gender non-conforming persons are principally punished for violating capitalist and patriarchal norms. They are increasingly casualties in the so-called war on drugs and the criminalization of sex work. Women and gender non-conforming persons warehoused in prisons are almost without exception poor, excluded from formal education, survivors of abuse and sexual assault, persons ‘of colour’, overmedicated and suffer from emotional disturbance and post-traumatic stress disorder. Every major commentary and report on prisons and punitive vengeance the past 800 years and more, demonstrate the principal metric of success is spectacular failure. It is time to de-prison society and expand human liberation with alternative strategies and inclusive conversations that rethink punitive justice.
To reduce and eliminate the social and psychological brutality normalized by incarceration and punitive vengeance, the prison abolition movement seeks to: 1) generating awareness of the harms of incarceration through research and stories, 2) as an interim measure, advocate for reforms that reduce the harshness of the prison regime, 3) support pre and post-release transition, 4) develop creative strategies for socializing conflict resolution and reducing engagement with the criminal industrial complex, 5) reduce to a bare minimum the number of prisons in the social landscape and in our collective consciousness, 6) abolish the so-called war on drugs, 7) resist and abolish ableism, classism, homophobia, racism, sexism and all other forms of oppression, 8) transfer investments from the war and criminal industrial complexes into a socially just and environmentally sustainable existence and 9) develop an inclusionary, human-centred, non-punitive and non-stigmatizing vocabulary for harm and injury.