Prison Abolition Means Transformation

Session #5
Date: May 17, 2021

Key Topics: abolition versus reform; defund the police; historical roots of abolition work; Black Lives Matter; organizing systems involved folks and their families

“Everybody is probably asking about “abolition” and what it is. Many of you remember the defund movement last summer. Well a lot of the defund movement was actually a call for abolition…to put it simply, abolition is the getting rid of police, prisons and jails, surveillance, and courts. I know it sounds kinda scary, but I know there’s a lot of imagination and vision here…because abolition is not just about getting rid of something. Abolition is about what do we replace it with…how we imagine a life where our communities can be safe, where we can have access to healthy food, where we can have access to quality public education, where we can have access to housing…all that exists in an abolitionist vision.” ~ Patrice Cullors

“I want to talk about the tearing down and the building up. We often just talk about the tearing down, or cracking open the carceral system. On the other side has to be the building up. The amount of energy that we put into dismantling the carceral system–ending cash bail, changing laws, shutting down prisons and youth facilities–we have to put that same energy building out actual real alternatives in our communities that are sustainable. So part of our work is to get some of that money back that was extracted from our communities to help sustain these efforts.” ~ Leslie Turner

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