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STUDENTS FOR PRISON EDUCATION AND REFORM


educating, advocating, and agitating against mass incarceration

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STUDENTS FOR PRISON EDUCATION AND REFORM


educating, advocating, and agitating against mass incarceration

PRISONS DO NOT DISAPPEAR SOCIAL PROBLEMS, THEY DISAPPEAR HUMAN BEINGS. HOMELESSNESS, UNEMPLOYMENT, DRUG ADDICTION, MENTAL ILLNESS, AND ILLITERACY ARE ONLY A FEW OF THE PROBLEMS THAT DISAPPEAR FROM PUBLIC VIEW WHEN THE HUMAN BEINGS CONTENDING WITH THEM ARE RELEGATED TO CAGES.
— Angela Davis

About SPEAR

Mission

Students for Prison Education and Reform (SPEAR) is a Princeton University-based student organization that educates, advocates, and agitates against the carceral state on Princeton’s campus, in New Jersey, and beyond. Founded in 2012, SPEAR engages in anti-carceral campus activism, legislative advocacy, community education, and direct engagement with currently and formerly incarcerated peers. SPEAR is committed to centering and uplifting the voices of those directly impacted by the carceral state and all of its intersections with racism, transphobia, classism, homophobia, sexism, and other systems of oppression and dehumanization. The annual SPEAR conference brings together students, activists, advocates, and academics from across the country for a weekend of lectures, panels, and workshops on Princeton’s campus.

Context

The United States, with only five percent of the world's population, holds nearly one quarter of the world’s incarcerated population.  Since the 1980s, the number of incarcerated Americans has nearly quadrupled - a consequence of "tough on crime" policies and the War on Drugs that have disproportionately affected communities of color. By some estimates, we incarcerate six times more of our black population than South Africa did in the midst of apartheid, have more African Americans under correctional control than than were controlled under slavery 13 years before the Civil War, and disenfranchise almost six million citizens on account of prior convictions. The U.S. is the last country to have juveniles in prison sentenced to life without parole, and is one of the few industrialized countries that still regularly executes its own citizens (unsurprisingly, in a racially inflected way). We hold over 80,000 people daily in conditions of solitary confinement characterized by the UN as torture. Some of those people have been living in parking-lot-sized cages for over 40 years. More than 65 million Americans, or almost one third of adults, have a criminal record. Those with records can be discriminated against, legally, when it comes to getting jobs or applying to schools. Those with felony drug convictions are ineligible for public housing, food stamps, and Pell grants. The list goes on and on. The American carceral reality, if you choose to look at it, is unconscionable.

As students, the future rests in our hands. It is our duty to take action on one of the most egregious civil rights issues of our generation. 

To take action, join us at our weekly meetings on Mondays at 8 p.m. in Campus Club.

Contact Us

For general information and inquiries, please contact our co-presidents: Amanda (amandae@princeton.edu), KiKi (kiarag@princeton.edu), and Masha (mmiura@princeton.edu).

To reach out to a specific project, please contact the project leaders listed by their project here.

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Get involved


Become a part of a vibrant student community unified for justice.

Get involved


Become a part of a vibrant student community unified for justice.

SPEAR meets every Monday during the semester from 8 to 9 p.m. in Campus Club. All are welcome! We typically begin meetings with announcements and an interactive community education activity, then break out into projects to strategize, coordinate, and do the work of organizing. Every meeting, you will have opportunities to contribute to this valuable anti-carceral work. For many of our members, SPEAR meetings are the most meaningful hour of their week.

Feel free to contact the co-presidents to learn more: Amanda (amandae@princeton.edu), KiKi (kiarag@princeton.edu), and Masha (mmiura@princeton.edu)

Learn more about SPEAR's ONGOING PROJECTS →

 

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Learn More


Learn More


With one in 100 Americans behind bars, mass incarceration is the most important civil rights issue of our time.  Educate yourself about the problem,  the need for educational programs, and other criminal justice reforms.