The first time someone mentioned the concept of prison abolition to me I thought, “Yeah, but like, what do you really mean?”
Turns out what they really meant was prison abolition. That does not mean vigilantes with sledge hammers destroying prisons and repopulating the senate with serial rapists, which tends to be the immediate mental image (roughly) when someone says “prison abolition.” What it does mean is replacing incarceration with responses to crime that actually make people safer, happier, and healthier (“people” here meaning all people, not just the people who are currently protected by our legal system). In some cases – serial rapists, for example – this response should probably still include confinement of some kind. In most cases, I don’t think it should.
The purpose of this here blog is to talk prison abolition without bullshit, realistically and imaginatively. In order to do this, it’s crucial to talk about what’s wrong with prisons, because frankly if prisons weren’t completely fucked in nearly every way possible, we’d be better off not taking on one of the most pervasive and powerful concepts in our national and world culture: crime and punishment.
So read, and comment, and get in touch with me, and let’s work on abolishing prisons.