News Releases

ICOPA International Conference on Penal Abolition

For Release Upon Receipt - May 4, 2012

St. Augustine

The Institute of International Relations, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, will host the “14th International Conference on Penal Abolition” from June 13th to 15th 2012. As the country marks its 50th year of independence, the conference, which is being held for the first time in Trinidad & Tobago, presents an ideal time to re-think institutions, examine assumptions, and explore new ideas on developing a just society. 

The theme for this three-day conference is ‘Inspiring Abolition: Strengthening Ourselves for Local/Global Influence.’ The first day will focus on Justice, Law and Abolition. On the second day, Violence, Punishment and Peacemaking will be addressed and on the third day, the discussion will move inside the prison space to exchange ideas and hear from that community and its associates. The first two sessions are held at The UWI, St. Augustine Campus and the last session will be held at the Prison Service Conference Centre, Arouca, Trinidad, where current prisoners will be encouraged to participate through videos, Skype and written contributions. 

Keynote speakers at this year’s ICOPA conference will be Professor Vincenzo Ruggiero, Professor of Sociology at the Middlesex University in London and Professor Hal Pepinsky, Professor of Criminal Justice at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Participants at the Conference include academics, community activists, government ministers, students, former prisoners, NGOs, members of the judiciary, and others. Applicants are invited to submit abstracts and conference papers on the themes or on related areas of interest and are welcome to contribute in workshop sessions and panels. Interested persons can register at The deadline date for registration and abstracts is Friday 11th May and Monday 4th June for conference papers/presentations.

For further information, visit the conference website at or contact Dr. Anthony Gonzales at or or at (868) 662-2002 Ext 82011.

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About UWI

Over the last six decades, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged University with over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, with main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Centres in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Christopher (St Kitts) & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. UWI recently launched its Open Campus, a virtual campus with over 50 physical site locations across the region, serving over 20 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. UWI is an international university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world. Through its seven Faculties, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Pure & Applied Sciences, Science and Agriculture, and Social Sciences.

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)