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June 11, 2022

"The Dangerous Few: Taking Seriously Prison Abolition and Its Skeptics"

The title of this post is the title of this new essay by Thomas Ward Frampton just published in the Harvard Law Review.  Here is its abstract:

Prison abolition, in the span of just a few short years, has established a foothold in elite criminal legal discourse.  But the basic question of how abolitionists would address “the dangerous few” often receives superficial treatment; the problem constitutes a “spectral force haunting abolitionist thought . . . as soon as abolitionist discourses navigate towards the programmatic and enter the public arena.”  This Essay offers two main contributions: it (1) maps the diverse ways in which prison abolitionists most frequently respond to the challenge of “the dangerous few,” highlighting strengths and infirmities of each stance, and (2) proposes alternative, hopefully more productive, responses that interrogate and probe the implicit premises (empirical, ideological, or moral) embedded in and animating questions concerning “the dangerous few.”

June 11, 2022 at 09:55 AM | Permalink


The "dangerous few" is just a catch phrase for wussing out. Be bold! If we're really going to tackle the fascist thug state, we need to abolish prison, period. The human race live 99% of its existence without prison, and we need to return to a state of true freedom and compassion. Don't be fooled by these right wing extremists.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 11, 2022 1:46:51 PM

Humanity also lived in a state of "you pretty, I have" for 99.99% of its existence. Hobbes was not describing the state of nature as something to aspire to.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Jun 11, 2022 2:53:55 PM

"Don't be fooled by these right wing extremists".

What? This cannot be the same "Bill Otis" that we all know and maybe kinda, sorta love. Can it? I'm fearful that Bill may have been tied to a chair and Chesa Boudin now sits at his computer. Oh the horror..the horror..

Posted by: SG | Jun 11, 2022 5:07:59 PM

And Bill....I say that in jest...of course I recognize your sardonic sense of humor.....please refrain from castigating me for just playing along.

Posted by: SG | Jun 11, 2022 5:09:59 PM

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