What is Prison abolition?

Abolition is a political vision with the goal of:

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How Would Prison Abolition Actually Work?

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What‘s wrong with prisons?

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What about reform instead of abolition?

Prison abolitionists argue that it is not enough to simply reform our current criminal justice system.

here's why:

  • The prison-industrial complex gets even more powerful by feeding off of reform.
  • Prison itself is a (failed) reform. Before, there was corporal punishment, and the developing of the prison system is a move from that practice into what was initially seen as something more humane.

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Restorative Justice as a Step Toward Abolition

Restorative justice focuses on:

  • The process of healing for victims.
  • The process of understanding the harm caused & discouraging it with education (no violence/coercion).
  • Holding the criminal accountable for their actions, encouraging reparations to be made and ensuring reintegration into society.

Thus, restorative justice processes fulfill the needs of the victim, offender & community while preserving the safety & dignity of all.

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What about violent/dangerous criminals?

Violent crimes (such as rape, murder, pedophilia, etc) are caused by environmental factors & underlying mental health problems, which should be addressed to achieve rehabilitation & prevent future occurrences of it within society.

Unfortunately, our current prison systems (which implicate retributive justice systems) are not effective at dealing with violent criminals.

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Why is it so hard to envision abolition being practical?

We've been so indoctrinated by a society that's been using prisons as an answer for every social and political problem, that we have very little practice with imagining solutions to systemic problems without prison sentences.

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