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Prison Abolition

This guide explores what prison abolition is, an overview of the movement, and how to get involved.

About this Page

In this page, included are resources that center on analyzing prison abolition through the lens of race, class and gender. Like broader society, the prison industrial complex and mass incarceration operate within systems of inequality along these lines. Today's prison abolition movement deeply recognizes this. The movement encompasses a vision of freedom rooted in this analysis and develops its framework of activism and advocacy strategies from it. Below you will find recommendations for films and videos to watch, books to read, and community-based organizations to learn more about.

"The nature of the criminal justice system has changed. It is no longer primarily concerned with the prevention and punishment of crime, but rather with the management and control of the dispossessed.”

- Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

"Abolition is not some distant future but something we create in every moment when we say no to the traps of empire and yes to the nourishing possibilities dreamed of and practiced by our ancestors and friends. Every time we insist on accessible and affirming health care, safe and quality education, meaningful and secure employment, loving and healing relationships, and being our full and whole selves, we are doing abolition. Abolition is about breaking down things that oppress and building up things that nourish. Abolition is the practice of transformation in the here and now and the ever after.”

- Eric A. Stanley, Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex

Statistics on Mass Incarceration According to Race and Gender

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Survived and Punished: A Few Quick Statistics

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The Sentencing Project: The Racial Impact of Mass Incarceration

"Sentencing policies, implicit racial bias, and socioeconomic inequity contribute to racial disparities at every level of the criminal justice system. Today, people of color make up 37% of the U.S. population but 67% of the prison population. Overall, African Americans are more likely than white Americans to be arrested; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, they are more likely to face stiff sentences. Black men are six times as likely to be incarcerated as white men and Hispanic men are more than twice as likely to be incarcerated as non-Hispanic white men."

Books to Read

Videos to Watch