2022 Prison Law & Advocacy Conference

The biennial Prison Law and Advocacy Conference (PLAC), most recently held in New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Denver, will be held in Chicago from May 20-21st at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, hosted by the Community Justice and Civil Rights Clinic at the Bluhm Legal Clinic.

(Please note that attendance is restricted to students, advocates for people in custody, and people who were formerly-incarcerated. Continuing Legal Education Credit will be provided.)

Dwayne Betts, the award winning poet and lawyer will be our keynote speaker, and Kristen Clarke, Assistant U.S. Attorney General for Civil Rights, will provide opening remarks.

Plenary sessions will address Strategies for Decarceration and Privilege, Identity & Power: Strategies for Ensuring that We Don't Replicate the Forces We Fight Against.

Concurrent sessions will include managing a prison law practice, conditions in immigrant detention facilities, voting rights in prisons and jails, Monell/damages actions, advocating for people inside who live with mental health and medical needs, representing people who are LGBTQ+, solitary confinement, and building bridges between the movements for police accountability and prison related advocacy.

We anticipate providing programming from 9am-5pm each day, and to close out each day with a reception. 

Recognizing that these have been especially trying and historic times for people in our field, we are working with practitioners to provide sessions grounded in the healing arts, self-reflection/ trauma processing, and somatics at various points during the conference. These sessions have been added with the goal of making space for attendees to grow their interpersonal skills and have candid conversations with others about what it means to work in the area of prison law and advocacy. These sessions have a particular focus on second-hand trauma and contending with racial injustice and state violence. In-person attendees will be able to opt into these sessions.

We will provide a limited hybrid option for people who cannot travel to the conference.

Registration cost for in-person attendance is $150, which includes breakfast, lunch and two receptions.

Registration for virtual attendance is $75, which will help cover the cost of the technical support needed to run webinars with panelists that will be in-person.

If the in-person and/or the virtual conference registration fee presents a hardship, we can provide a fee waiver. The conference will be accessible to all regardless of ability to pay.

For more information about the conference (including sponsorship opportunities and fee waivers) please email prisonlawadvocacyconference@gmail.com.

If you wish to make a donation, please visit our online giving site. 

Conference registration, hotel reservation and a conference schedule link(s) are posted below:

  • Conference Registration - Registration is CLOSED, please email prisonlawadvocacyconference@gmail.com for further information.
  • Hotel Registration for Warwick Allerton Chicago - HOTEL ROOM BLOCK IS EXHAUSTED
  • Conference Schedule (pdf)
    • Click here for presentor bios
  • Helpful documentation for your Conference experience: 
    • Click here for a map of how to enter the law school from the conference hotel (Map pdf)

    • Click here for a guide to Chicago restaurants, music, and other happenings (guide pdf)

    • Click here for the conference agenda (agenda pdf)

    • Click here for the conference session descriptions  (descriptions pdf)


With deep appreciation to the 2022 Prison Law and Advocacy Conference Sponsors:

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Conference Planning Committee

  • Andrea Armstong, Professor Loyola University New Orleans, College of Law
  • Sheila Bedi, Clinical Professor of Law, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Director, Community Justice Clinic
  • Kara Crutcher, Attorney & Clinical Instructor, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Community Justice Clinic
  • Vanessa del Valle, Clinical Associate Professor of Law, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, MacArthur Justice Center
  • Sharon Dolovich, Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law, and Director of the UCLA Prison Law & Policy Program
  • Sarah Grady, Partner, Loevy and Loevy
  • Atteeyah Hollie, Deputy Director, Southern Center for Human Rights
  • Alan Mills, Executive Director, Uptown People’s Law Center
  • Margot Mendelson, Staff Attorney, Prison Law Office
  • Laura Rovner, Professor, Denver Sturm College of Law
  • Aditi Shah, Borchard Fellow, ACLU’s National Prison Project