Other Group

Interrupting Criminalization: Research in Action

Website:

www.interruptingcriminalization.com/

Formation:

2018

Parent Group:

Social Justice Institute at Barnard Center for Research on Women

Type:

Criminal Justice Reform

Interrupting Criminalization: Research in Action is a left-of-center criminal justice initiative associated with the Defund the Police movement that was launched in the fall of 2018 by the “Social Justice Institute” of the Barnard Center for Research on Women (BCRW), a feminist and social justice academic project of Barnard College. Researchers-in-residence Andrea J. Ritchie and Mariame Kaba created the initiative. [1]

Background

According to the Community Resource Hub for Safety and Accountability, the initiative intends to “interrupt and end the…growing criminalization and incarceration of women and LGBT people of color” for crimes related to “poverty, child welfare, drug use, survival and self-defense,” statuses that the group suggest are unjustly “criminalized.” [2]

When the initiative had just recently been launched, Barnard Center for Research on Women wrote that Interrupting Criminalization “will combine participatory research, data analysis, and systemic advocacy” to help local campaigns and activist organizations. It described the initiative as a collaboration of research participants working to gather data related to the Defund the Police movement for the purpose of then distributing it to “organizers, advocates, policymakers, media makers, and philanthropic partners” interested in helping the movement reach its goals. [3]

Interrupting Criminalization collaborates with Defund the Police, a project that hosts web resources for activists and organizers to learn more about the police abolitionist movement and its related events, legislation, organizations, and policy proposals. Defund the Police also provides information on budgeting, training, and campaigning to interested readers and members. [4]

Activities

Interrupting Criminalization hosts publications on its website, many of them co-authored by its founders Andrea J. Ritchie and Mariame Kaba. One such publication is a report from 2019 entitled “What is Driving the Mass Incarceration of Women and LGBT People?” [5] The report claims that police stop women more often than men, that black women are more likely to be stopped than white and Latina women, and that there has been an increase in the total number of traffic stops of women since 1999. [6]

The report suggests that to mitigate this alleged discrimination, the criminal justice system needs to reduce the use of probation and parole, break this criminalization down by geographic region, and reform the child welfare system. The report ends by urging readers to support the “#DECRIMNY” movement and call their state legislators to tell them to support the “Stop Violence In the Sex Trades Act.” [7]

Social Media

Interrupting Criminalization has a Twitter account which posts content related to its left-progressive mission, including books and other resources “for #DefundPolice #CareNotCops organizers” that seek “meaningful shifts away from cops, towards community-based responses.” [8]

It also advertises its “One Million Experiments” “zine” series which it operates with Project NIA, a Chicago-based criminal justice organization engaged in police abolitionist rhetoric founded by Interrupting Criminalization co-founder Mariame Kaba. [9] [10] The zine series promotes social justice causes such as Mothers and Men Against Senseless Killings (MASK), another Chicago-based group involved in the overhaul of the criminal justice system guided by the belief that it is systemically racist. [11]

On February 20, 2022, the Interrupting Criminalization Twitter account posted a Black History Month reading list from ShondaLand.com. One of the founders of Interrupting Criminalization, Mariame Kaba, had her book We Do This featured on the list, described as “a necessary text on dismantling the carceral system.” The list included books by or about James Baldwin, Malcolm X, and bell hooks (the author born Gloria Jean Watkins). [12]

While Interrupting Criminalization has not itself received grant money from billionaire philanthropist George Soros, other researcher-activists involved with the Barnard Center for Research on Women were awarded the Justice and Equality Fellowships by Open Society Foundations in 2019. The fellowship awards provide grant money for living expenses and project-related funding for researchers and activists supporting lenient criminal justice policies. [13] [14]

References

  1. “Interrupting Criminalization: Research in Action.” BCRW, Barnard College. Accessed 20 February 2022. https://bcrw.barnard.edu/fellows/interrupting-criminalization-research-in-action/. ^
  2.  “Interrupting Criminalization: Research in Action.” Community Resource Hub. Accessed 20 February 2022. https://communityresourcehub.org/resources/interrupting-criminalization-research-in-action/. ^
  3.  “Interrupting Criminalization: Research in Action.” BCRW, Barnard College. Accessed 20 February 2022. https://bcrw.barnard.edu/fellows/interrupting-criminalization-research-in-action/. ^
  4. “About.” Defund the Police. Accessed 19 February 2022. https://defundpolice.org/about/. ^
  5. “Publications.” Interrupting Criminalization. Accessed 19 February 2022. https://www.interruptingcriminalization.com/publications. ^
  6. “Interrupting Criminalization: Research in Action.” BCRW, Barnard College. Accessed 20 February 2022. https://bcrw.barnard.edu/fellows/interrupting-criminalization-research-in-action/. ^
  7. “Interrupting Criminalization: Research in Action.” BCRW, Barnard College. Accessed 20 February 2022. https://bcrw.barnard.edu/fellows/interrupting-criminalization-research-in-action/. ^
  8. Interrupting Criminalization. Twitter, 20 January 2022. Accessed 20 February 2022. https://twitter.com/interruptcrim/status/1484281331433410560?s=20&t=kTgqaZer2P_ibRC8nmievw. ^
  9. Project NIA. Accessed 20 February 2022. https://project-nia.org/. ^
  10. @prisonculture. Twitter. Accessed 20 February 2022. https://twitter.com/prisonculture. ^
  11. Interrupting Criminalization. Twitter, 17 February 2022. Accessed 20 February 2022. https://twitter.com/interruptcrim/status/1494433422541930507?s=20&t=kTgqaZer2P_ibRC8nmievw ^
  12. Interrupting Criminalization. Twitter, 20 February 2022. Accessed 25 April 2022. https://twitter.com/interruptcrim/status/1495428285647499266?cxt=HHwWhMC5kcmG6sApAAAA ^
  13. “BCRW Activists-in-Residence Selected for Soros Fellowships.” Barnard College, 30 September 2019. Accessed .20 February 2022. https://barnard.edu/news/bcrw-activists-residence-selected-soros-fellowships. ^
  14. “Interrupting Criminalization: Research in Action.” Community Resource Hub. Accessed 20 February 2022. https://communityresourcehub.org/resources/interrupting-criminalization-research-in-action/. ^
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