On May 14th 2020, the ICJC hosted “Prison Abolition and Faith Communities: A conversation with Dr. Vincent Lloyd and Dr. Joshua Dubler. In their 2019 book Break Every Yoke: Religion, Justice, and the Abolition of Prisons, Dubler and Lloyd argue that religion is both connected to the rise of mass incarceration, and a necessary element in its dismantling via abolition.

Note: The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in this recording belong solely to the presenters. This conversation does not constitute or imply the endorsement of the call to dismantle prisons through abolition by organizational members of the ICJC and any of their employees.

More information about the speakers and topic

Vincent Lloyd is an Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University, where he also directs the Africana Studies Program. Lloyd co-edits the academic journal “Political Theology” and directs the Villanova Political Theology Project, an interdisciplinary research hub and public scholarship forum (politicaltheology.com). He is the author of “The Problem with Grace: Reconfiguring Political Theology, Black Natural Law”, and “In Defense of Charisma”. He also co-edited the book, “Anti-Blackness and Christian Ethics”.

Joshua Dubler is an Associate Professor of Religion at the University of Rochester, where he directs the Rochester Education Justice Initiative, which fosters higher educational opportunities for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated college students in the Rochester area. He is the author of “Down in the Chapel: Religious Life in an American Prison”. Other articles include “Both Liberator and Jailor. The Religious Root of Mass Incarceration” in Syndicate: A New Forum for Theology.


Break Every Yoke: Religion, Justice, and the Abolition of Prisons by Joshua Dubler and Vincent Lloyd (Oxford University Press, 2019) –https://global.oup.com/academic/product/break-every-yoke-9780190949150?cc=us&lang=en&#


“The End of Punishment: Restorative Justice, Prison Abolition, and the Christian Refusal of State Violence,” ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) – https://www.abc.net.au/religion/restorative-justice,-prison-abolition-and-the-refusal-of-state/10630778

“Mass Incarceration is Religious (and So Is Abolition),” Abolition Journal – https://abolitionjournal.org/mass-incarceration-is-religious-and-so-is-abolition/

“Think Prison Abolition in America Is Impossible? It Once Felt Inevitable,” The Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/19/prison-abolition-america-impossible-inevitable

This is the longer, more academic piece on religious-based higher education in prison that Profs. Dubler and Lloyd wrote with a couple other collaborators:

“’Using the Language of Christian Love and Charity’: What Liberal Religion Offers Higher Education in Prison,” Religion – https://www.mdpi.com/2077-1444/10/3/169