This year’s symposium will examine the systems that contribute to and reinforce the carceral state. State systems and institutions external to prisons use the same mechanisms of control, surveillance, and punishment in order to maintain racial hierarchy. How does policing, public housing and benefit access, school policies and the child welfare system reproduce systems of control and racial dominance? We will examine how these systems, which purportedly increase public welfare and provide social benefits, often instead oppress and punish poor communities of color. Ultimately, we hope to convey that abolitionist movements must seek not only to dismantle the prison system but also to decriminalize the social safety net. Join us in re-imagining the state’s role in meeting people’s needs.