Defunding the Police: Implications for Social Work

Start Date:10/27/2021

Start Time:1:30 PM EDT

Duration:90 minutes


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This is part of a 3-part series with the Centre of Indigegogy situated within the Master of Social Work (MSW) Indigenous Field of Study program at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Recent calls to defund the police have put social work in the spotlight as a possible alternative to policing. However, social work functions largely on the same colonial and carceral logics of policing (e.g., surveillance, coercion, and punishment). In this webinar, participants will be encouraged to consider how they engage in carceral social work at an individual and organizational level, and to identify changes they can make in their practice, teaching, and research. Practical examples of anti-carceral social work will be introduced and discussed. 

Webinar Objectives 

1. To explore how social work functions through colonial and carceral logics (e.g., surveillance, coercion, control)
2. To identify ways social workers reinforce these colonial and carceral logics both personally and professionally
3. To provide examples of how social workers can engage in anti-carceral social work practice, research, and education

Part 1: Decolonizing Social Work Practice, Education, and Research
Part 3: Abolition and Transformative Justice: Re-Imagining Social Work

If you're already registered for the Defunding the Police: Implications for Social Work webcast, click below:

Please note this event will be recorded and an On-Demand version will be made available through this link 24 hours after the presentation has concluded.

First Name
Last Name
Email Address

Giselle Dias, MSW, RSW

I am a queer, disabled, mixed race, Metis community organizer, activist, and scholar. I often say that my ancestors travelled the globe to ensure my presence in the world. My grandparents traveled from India, Seychelle Islands, England, Ireland and across Northern Turtle Island. I am in the third year of the PhD program at Laurier in the Faculty of Social Work, Indigenous Field of Study (IFS) and am the Program Coordinator at the Centre for Indigegogy. I have been working in the field of prisoners’ rights, penal abolition, and transformative justice for 25 years.

Jessica Hutchison, PhD Candidate

I am a white settler activist-scholar pursuing my PhD in social work at Wilfrid Laurier University. My research explores the gendered, racialized, and colonial impacts of strip searching in women’s prisons. I have been a prisoners’ rights advocate for nearly 15 years and teach in social work and critical criminology. I am also a Project Coordinator with the Centre for Indigegogy and am deeply committed to dismantling colonial systems that perpetuate harm and violence.