Imagine a society without police, prosecutors, courts, and prisons: what does it look like? Over the last few decades, a growing abolitionist movement has been calling for the abolition of these institutions while offering alternative visions for creating safe and thriving communities, re-shaping public policy, and experimenting with building an infrastructure of care, support, stability, accountability, and healing from harm. Building on last year’s Myths of Public Safety theme, this fall we explored the theory and praxis behind abolition of the prison industrial complex.
For the Abolitionist Politics, Practices, and Horizons speaker series, we were joined by guests who have thought deeply about abolition, including many who have spent years studying, experimenting with, and enacting abolitionist politics and community safety initiatives that do not rely on surveillance, policing, prosecution, or incarceration. Through discussions about lived experience and organizing, innovative research, critical theory, and public policy we hope to guide policymakers, practitioners, advocates, researchers, and community members in envisioning new practices, procedures, and policies to bring about safe and thriving communities for all. How would our institutions, our communities, our relationships to one another, and our norms have to change to build safety outside of criminalization and punishment? Our intention is to inspire deeper thinking about research, policy, and ways of making sense of abolitionist project(s).