Righting Carceral Feminism’s Wrongs in a #MeToo Era

Carceral feminism sees law enforcement as the primary solution to gender-based violence. When the United States passed the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, it was seen as a landmark bill to finally address domestic violence. The bill provided billions of dollars to fund more police officers and prisons, and introduced punitive sentencing to curb domestic violence.

More than two decades later, it has left many women in less affluent and marginalized communities even more vulnerable to violence. Since many communities of color are already overpoliced, victims are often reluctant to call the police for fear of being met with trauma and criminalization.

The Open Society Foundations have a history of supporting transformative systems of justice. Transformative justice is a community-based process where individuals are able to address and repair the harm on their own terms, and to define what justice looks like to them. In many ways, the #MeToo movement is beginning to address the wrongs of carceral feminism through a more democratized process of addressing injustice. Join us during the week of International Women’s Day for a discussion with activists and authors to identify potential opportunities and pitfalls in the search for justice for victims in a #MeToo era.

Limited copies of asha bandele’s new book, When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis.


  • asha bandele is a senior director at the Drug Policy Alliance and an award-winning journalist and author of six books, including The Prisoner’s Wife and When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, about and written collaboratively with Black Lives Matter cofounder Patrisse Khan Cullors.
  • Victoria Law is a freelance journalist focusing on women’s criminalization and incarceration, and the author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women.
  • Mariame Kaba is the founder and director of Project NIA, and a cofounder of numerous organizations including the Chicago Freedom School, Love and Protect, and most recently Survived & Punished.
  • Erin Cloud is a supervising attorney and team leader at the Bronx Defenders. 
  • Denise Tomasini-Joshi (moderator) is acting codirector of Open Society Women’s Rights Program, and division director of the Open Society Public Health Program.

Suggested Readings

Date: March 6, 2018
Time: 5:457:45 p.m.