Diversity Challenge Proposals

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We invite proposals from educators, practitioners, researchers, and community activists in any discipline who are currently addressing criminal justice issues in any phase of the lifespan, as well as those who have theory and ideas about how to improve and reduce the need for criminal justice systems. We envision an interdisciplinary forum in which researchers, practitioners, educators, law enforcement personnel, and social activists explore a variety of perspectives and issues and interact with each other while addressing mutual concerns related to race, ethnic culture, and criminal justice defined in various ways. Potential areas of interest are mass incarceration, the school-to-prison pipeline, any aspect of the prison industrial complex or immigrant detention, and racial bias in policing and sentencing. Proposals should address the role of racial and/or ethnic cultural dynamics as criminalizing factors in society generally or in whatever aspect of the lifespan that is the focus of your proposal. Presentations should focus on developments in research, professional practice, education, community activities, or activism pertaining to race or ethnic culture and the criminal justice system. Our goal is to stimulate dialogue and action with respect to racial or ethnic cultural factors. Creative conceptual papers and models are encouraged. We will give strongest consideration to proposals that focus directly on the 2017 Diversity Challenge theme, ‘Race, Culture, and Criminal Justice throughout the Lifespan.” Specific topics might include, but are not limited to:

● The mental health impacts of racial and ethnic discrimination in policing and the prison system, education, and the community

● Racial and cultural bias in school suspensions/expulsions and involvement in the criminal justice system

● Community-based interventions addressing the effects of mass incarceration on families, neighborhoods, and/or individuals

● Creative interventions to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline and recidivism, such as art therapy and political activism

● Exploring the connection between school racial makeup and use of “Zero Tolerance” policies

● Criminalization of behavior at different developmental stages

● Experiences of immigrants and refugees in relation to the law, detention, and deportation

● Research approaches for assessing the influence of racial and cultural bias in sentencing and jury decision making and forensic psychology

● Psychosocial costs of school discipline and legal involvement on children, adolescents, and families

● Benefits and costs to communities of Color of government criminal justice policies

● Racially and culturally sensitive law enforcement training and programs that address disparities in marginalized communities

Workshop (90 minutes) - An intensive presentation intended to share specific research, educational practices, social policy, or mental health experiences and/or skills, or empirically based knowledge about racial and cultural factors in treatment, research, and policy with an interactive and experiential focus.

Symposium Panel (90 minutes) - Three to five participants present individual papers with a shared racial and cultural theme from different perspectives. Symposium proposals typically have a chair and discussant.

Individual Presentation (15 to 30 minutes) - Formal presentation of theoretical, practical, policy issues, or research related to program development, mental health issues, community and school initiatives, and overcoming systemic barriers as experienced by individuals of all ages. Papers may be grouped together around similar themes by the conference organizers. Typically, 3-4 presentations will share a 90 minute block.

Structured Discussion (45 minutes) - Conveners present a theme relating to some aspect of racial or cultural factors and facilitate group discussions intended to generate new ideas and solve related problems. Structured Discussions (SD) may be paired with another SD with a similar theme and share the 90 minute block.

Poster - Presenters display information with a racial or ethnic cultural focus intended to share information, interventions or research skills, or other experiences relevant to racial or cultural dynamics.


ISPRC is accepting proposals until May 1, 2017 for our 2017 Diversity Challenge - "Race, Culture, and Criminal Justice throughout the Lifespan," October 13-14, 2017 at Boston College.  We are pleased to offer you two methods to submit your Diversity Challlenge proposal. To submit your proposal(s), you can:

  1. Submit Online using the link below (*preferred method)
  2. Download the proposal forms and email them to isprc@bc.edu

For information on the conference focus, suggestions for proposals and conference program formats, please view our Call for Proposals.

  • To submit your proposal online, please click Enter Online Proposal.  Please note that you will be asked to upload a copy of your proposal document and abstracts.
  • To submit your proposal via electronic mail, please download, complete and send the Diversity Challenge forms.  Email completed forms to isprc@bc.edu.
There will definitely be a greater overall awareness of what the impacts of policies and education are on people of color and other oppressed groups.
Diversity Challenge Participant