Yale Undergraduate Prison Project (YUPP)


Our Mission:

The Yale Undergraduate Prison Project (YUPP) is a student-run social justice organization with over 150 members. We believe that the discrimination and dehumanization driving the U.S. justice system is a product of white supremacy and structural racism. Our mission is to challenge the inequities of mass incarceration through service and advocacy, while learning from and supporting others who share that vision.

YUPP runs programs at correctional facilities and community reentry centers in Connecticut. Our GED tutoring, seminar-style discussion groups, and mentoring programs impact over a hundred incarcerated or formerly incarcerated individuals annually. In addition to the educational programs we run each week, members engage in advocacy and activism on a local, state, and national level. On campus, YUPP hosts a diverse group of speakers each semester from fields and disciplines that intersect with mass incarceration in order to promote dialogue and engage Yale and New Haven community members in this work.

Our Activities:

Women on the frontier of indigenous law
Advocacy, or Activism
A panel discussion with five prominent Native women specializing in various aspects of public interest legal advocacy.

Reading Group
Advocacy, or Activism
We have already done four abolition reading group events (two within YUPP and two partnering with Yalies4Palestine). We would like to continue the reading group with more books throughout the semester.

Being Michelle Documentary Screening
Advocacy, or Activism
We will hold a screening of a film on the story of Michelle Ricks, who is deaf and experienced adverse childhood trauma in the child welfare system and eventually incarceration. The screening is a part of our effort to highlight how systems that are supposed to protect and support those with disabilities thrust them into the prison pipeline.

ArtLinks Events
Advocacy, or Activism
We are reigniting our annual collaboration with the Justice Arts Coalition to amplify the voice or art of a current or previously incarcerated individual, appreciate the beauty of their work, and discuss it. We are inviting organizers from a food justice organization to speak on cultivating a healthy community by growing gardens, sharing food, and advocating for just food systems. This event will feature a cooking activity at Yale Farm, for which we are purchasing groceries from Misfits, a delivery service that sells high-quality produce that cannot be sold at grocery stores for aesthetic reasons and would instead go to waste.

Advocacy, or Activism
A panel discussion with HEARD, a cross-disability abolitionist organization on liberatory deaf/disabled organizing against the prison industrial complex.

Artistic Expression Beyond Prison Walls: Learning from and Supporting Incarcerated Artists
Advocacy, or Activism
In partnership with Empowerment Ave, we invited three incarcerated artists to run an open studio at the school of art about creative expression while imprisoned.

Speaker Event with Adam Vine
Advocacy, or Activism
Adam presented on the war on drugs and his work with Cage Free Cannabis, including his on-going project with YUPP Advocacy.

Student Leaders:

Bahar Bouzarjomehri - Co-Coordinator/Co-President Yakeleen Almazan - Co-Coordinator/Co-President Fikir Mekonnen - Co-Coordinator/Co-President

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