Decarceral Visions Conference, September 22-23, 2023, UCLA Law School

A painted image of yellow flowers.

Artwork courtesy of Brian Hindson

This conference is for people and organizations committed to ending mass incarceration and immigration detention. Specifically, this conference is designed to address important questions that come up in the work to close or prevent the construction of jails, prisons, and immigration detention centers:

  • What will happen to the facilities and spaces themselves, and when should we repurpose them for community use? How can we meaningfully repurpose carceral facilities?
  • What will happen to people held in these facilities? How can we ensure their release rather than transfer to another facility?
  • How can we stop jail and prison construction or expansion plans in ways that direct government spending toward our communities, collaborate with planners and architects for community-led repurposing, and further just transitions?
  • How do we address job loss and community economic impact upon closure? How do we critically analyze claims that new facilities will be an economic boon?
  • How can government funds used for incarceration be redirected to community priorities, including just transitions and economic development?
  • What can we learn from the labor and environmental movements’ just transitions framework as we move to close or prevent new carceral facilities?

Who should come?

Community organizers and advocates involved in campaigns to close, repurpose, and/or prevent construction of jails, prison and immigrant detention centers; students, scholars, and practitioners in architecture, urban planning, economic redevelopment, environmental sustainability, law, public health, social work, municipal budgeting, labor, and ESG financing who are supporting or want to support decarceral and just transition efforts in this critical and strategic conference.

Topics Covered

  • Participatory and community-based planning and architecture processes in campaigns to repurpose jails, prisons, and detention centers;
  • Lessons learned from campaigns to close, repurpose, and/or prevent the construction of jails, prisons, and detention centers;
  • Understanding public and private financing, data analysis, and budget interventions when proposing carceral facility closure or opposing new construction;
  • The role of public officials in carceral closure and just transitions;
  • Just transitions for incarcerated and detained people, workers, and communities directly impacted by facility closure;
  • Lessons on just transition from the environmental justice movement and consideration of the role of public officials; intersections with the environmental justice movement;
  • Building and implementing a just transition framework for and with incarcerated and detained people, workers, and communities directly impacted by facility closure;
  • Public health and social work perspectives on carceral closure and just transitions;
  • Gender dynamics of carceral closure and just transitions;
  • And more!


You can find the agenda for the conference here.

Conference Logistics

COVID Precautions. We request that all participants take a rapid COVID test at registration, or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken the morning of the event, and wear masks inside. COVID tests and masks will be available at the registration desk. Please allow at least 30 minutes before the program starts to allow for testing and registration.

Parking. UCLA School of Law is located at 385 Charles E. Young Drive East, Los Angeles, CA 90095. Self-service, pay-by-space parking is available from pay stations located throughout campus. Pay-by-space parking closest to the Law Building is available at selected entrances to parking structures 2 and 3, and by the Law Building along Charles E. Young Drive East, as shown on this map. Prices typically ranges from $1 for 20 minutes to $20 for all day. If you are driving and parking, please allow at least 15 minutes for parking.

Travel and Lodging

Conference address:

UCLA Law School, 385 Charles E Young Dr E, Los Angeles, CA 90095


We have reserved a hotel block at the Hotel Angeleno, located at 170 N. Church Lane, Los Angeles, CA 90049.

Rooms are available from Thursday, 9/21 through Sunday, 9/24 at a rate of $225/night (group “ACLU”).

Reservations can be made here (under “ACLU”).

Reservations must be made by August 31, 2023.

For questions or reservation assistance, please call 310-476-6411 or 866-264-3536.

**The hotel block at the Hotel Angeleno is now full. Please see this list for additional hotel options near UCLA Law School. HERE Local 11 has created a list of hotels currently under boycott that you may wish to avoid.**

The conference will also be available via webcast for registrants.

Key Times and Dates

Conference: September 22, 2023: 6:00-9:00 pm: Keynote and Plenary Panel; September 23, 2023: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. This gathering is intended for anyone who supports, or is interested in supporting decarceral and just transitions efforts, including organizers, students, and practitioners. Location: UCLA Law School

All day strategy meeting: September 22, 2023, 9:00 am-5:00 pm (by invitation). This gathering is intended for invited organizations and practitioners currently engaged in an active campaign to close or prevent the construction of jails, prisons, and immigration detention facilities.


The conference has reached capacity for in-person participation.

To attend the conference remotely, register here.

Travel/Lodging Support

The conference is able to provide a limited number of participants with support for travel and lodging. Priority will be given to: representatives from active, grassroots campaign groups; formerly incarcerated/detained people; and technical advisors engaged in campaign support. No support will be provided to any public officials or employees or any candidate for any public office.

The deadline to request travel support was July 31, 2023.


Conference Sponsors and Steering Committee

Conference Planning Committee

Eunice Cho, ACLU National Prison Project; Jasmine Heiss, Vera Institute of Justice; Marcela Hernandez, Detention Watch Network; Nicole Porter, Sentencing Project; Judah Schept, Professor, Eastern Kentucky University; Alicia Virani, UCLA Law School; Kyle Virgien, ACLU National Prison Project; Samantha Weaver, ACLU National Prison Project; Maurice BP-Weeks, Interrupting Criminalization.

Conference Sponsors

American Civil Liberties Union, Detention Watch Network, the Sentencing Project, Vera Institute of Justice, UCLA School of Law’s Criminal Justice Program, UCLA School of Law’s Prison Law and Policy Program, UCLA Criminal Justice Law Review.

Many thanks to the Langeloth Foundation; the Emergent Fund; the Proteus Fund; the ACLU of Northern California; Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP; Lovey & Loevy; Prison Law Office for their generous support of the conference. Thanks to the Borealis Foundation for travel support of its grantees to attend the conference.

Thanks to the following UCLA sponsors for support of the conference:

UCLA School of Law’s Criminal Justice Program; UCLA School of Law’s Prison Law & Policy Program; UCLA School of Law’s Veterans Justice Clinic; UCLA School of Law’s Critical Race Studies Program; UCLA Institute on Inequality and Democracy; UCLA Center for the Study of Women; UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Institute; UCLA School of Law’s Center for Immigration Law & Policy; UCLA Resnick Center for Food Law & Policy; UCLA Carceral Ecologies Lab; UCLA Luskin- Urban Planning; UCLA Institute of American Cultures; UCLA Disability Studies Minor; UCLA Promise institute for Human Rights; UCLA Law Health Law & Policy Program.