August 1, 2018
"What Is Prison Abolition?"
The title of this post is the headline of this article in The Nation, which carries the subtitle "The movement that is trying to think beyond prisons as a tool to solve society’s problems." Here is an excerpt:
The prison-abolition movement is a loose collection of people and groups who, in many different ways, are calling for deep, structural reforms to how we handle and even think about crime in our country. There are de facto figureheads (such as Angela Davis and Ruth Wilson Gilmore, the most famous contemporary abolitionists) and organizations (such as Critical Resistance, INCITE!, the Movement for Black Lives, the National Lawyers Guild, and Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee — all of which, if not explicitly abolitionist, at least engage in abolitionist ethics), and there are converging or at least overlapping political ideologies (anarchist, socialist, libertarian), but there is no structured organizing group or coalition. Masai Ehehosi, a co-founder of Critical Resistance and longtime member of the New Afrikan Independence Movement, pointed me to the overlap between organizations promoting civil rights and abolitionists: “We want freedom” can just as easily be applied to ending Jim Crow or the New Jim Crow, to unlocking iron shackles or swinging open prison doors.
The “movement” thus operates with affinity groups, with various organizations working in prisoner support, prisoner advocacy, political advocacy, or community education. “And when something big happens,” as Azzurra Crispino, prison labor activist and philosopher, explained to me, “we all show up as a coalition, and we don’t interfere” with each other’s work.
Abolitionists believe that incarceration, in any form, harms society more than it helps. As Angela Davis argues, prisons are an obsolete institution because they exacerbate societal harms instead of fixing them. “Are we willing to relegate ever larger numbers of people from racially oppressed communities to an isolated existence marked by authoritarian regimes, violence, disease, and technologies of seclusion that produce severe mental instability?” Davis has written. Even if we were to greatly diminish the current prison population, even if we were to cut it in half but keep the prison complex intact, we would still be consigning millions of people to isolation and violenc e— and that’s a form of inhumanity that abolitionists can’t abide. Moreover, Davis contends, mass imprisonment “reproduce[s] the very conditions that lead people to prison.”
August 1, 2018 at 08:22 AM | Permalink
The Raëlian Movement teaches that life on Earth was scientifically created by a species of extraterrestrials, which they call the Elohim. Members of this species appeared human when having personal contacts with the descendants of the humans that they made. They purposefully misinformed early humanity that they were angels, cherubim, or gods. Raëlians believe that messengers, or prophets, of the Elohim include Buddha, Jesus, and others who informed humans of each era. The founder of Raëlism received the final message of the Elohim and that its purpose is to inform the world about Elohim and that if humans become aware and peaceful enough, they wish to be welcomed by them.
Posted by: David Behar | Aug 1, 2018 8:55:03 AM
In reality, we are close to achieving this aspiration. One in 10 common law crimes is prosecuted. One in a million internet crimes is prosecuted. This virtual prison abolition is the reason for our massive criminality. That leaves public self help as the sole effective remedy to massive criminality.
Posted by: David Behar | Aug 1, 2018 10:00:47 AM
I'm sorry but this is insane, I can at least relate to the belief that we lock up too many but there are also folks that society is simply better off without. Even European countries (where many of this stripe seem to look to for inspiration) has not gone so far as to actually abolish prisons.
Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Aug 1, 2018 11:46:14 AM