Black Lives Matter activist stands in front of other activists that advocate for abolishing the police during a rally against police brutality in front of the Columbus City Hall in Columbus, Ohio on May 1, 2021. (Photo by STEPHEN ZENNER/AFP via Getty Images)

What does the abolition of prisons and carcerality look like? Does it necessitate the abolition of all nation-states and borders? How do we work toward abolition when it seems—to minds shaped by carcerality, punishment, and state-sanctioned violence—like an impossibility? The theory, framework, and practice of abolition isn’t just a response to the oppressions created and maintained by imperialism, white supremacy, capitalism, and cis-hetero patriarchy.  Abolitionists also argue that it is necessary for our collective survival. In this collection of reported features and op-eds published by Prism, we offer readers a look at what abolition is and why it is needed to deconstruct structural oppressions. 

What happens in prison becomes the norm by William C. Anderson

The oppressive and deadly tactics used on incarcerated people are directly linked to the spread of fascism inside and outside the prison system

Abolitionists push back against New York City’s proposed plan for a ‘feminist jail’ by Tamar Sarai Davis

Appropriating feminist rhetoric in support of jail expansion ignores the underlying violence of incarceration

Sexual violence thrives in prisons–that is just one reason we need abolition by K Agbebiyi

Investigations into a California prison revealed rampant sexual violence, but these abuses are normalized and dismissed across the prison system

For Muslims, the fight for an abolitionist future is necessary for survival by Mommina Tarar

Muslim abolitionists see abolition and restorative justice as a natural part of their faith

The new mega jail coming to NYC’s Chinatown is a physical reminder of anti-Asian hate by Rohan Zhou-Lee

Protesters and organizers have emphasized that the Chinatown mega jail would harm the local residents and those held within its walls

We can’t stop transphobia without fighting for abolition by #FreeAshleyNow

We have to destroy transphobia by eradicating every system that upholds it, and that begins with the criminal legal system

Police don’t stop crime, but you wouldn’t know it from the news by Kinjo Kiema

Police don’t stop or prevent crime, but police propaganda in U.S. media pushes another narrative

The violence we’re used to and the violence we need by William C. Anderson

The state maintains its oppressive systems through violence disguised as law, and only through counterviolence can we dismantle those systems

Lara WittEditorial Director

Lara is an award-winning writer and editor. Their journalism career started at the Philadelphia CityPaper and the Philadelphia Daily News. Lara also freelanced for national publications like Harper’s...