Abolition, Seriously

Abolish Prisons

Prison abolitionists get a lot of blank looks. Get rid of prisons? But – the bad guys! Didn’t you watch True Detective? To which I have three responses:

1)Remember that most people in prison are more like this guy:

Than this guy:

2)Incarceration rates have almost no relationship to crime rates. I know that’s difficult to accept if you believe that prisons are about preventing crime (and if you think that, read The New Jim Crow), but trust me on this: our prison population is the result of a series of choices, not a result of bad behavior.

  • Politicians make choices about what to criminalize.
  • Police make choices about where to hang out and who to search, arrest, etc.
  • Prosecutors make choices about what (and whether) to charge and how many years to demand.
  • Parole commissioners make choices about who to release.

All of these…

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