From reform to abolition

Every thing in our capitalist prison system is to deny humanity, to turn people from people into things; no sex, no control over what food they have, no windows to even look outside, no upward educational opportunities, extremely limited movement, forced and hyper-exploited labor, being sold and traded to fill prison and labor quotas, being given and even sometimes called by numbers rather than their names. It is an ultimate thingification, a state of outright and complete denial of humanity in the utmost form.

–Devyn Springer, “From Prison Reformist to Abolitionist.

Springer ties together a lot of threads in this essay–how poverty is linked to the definition of many crimes, and race to poverty, and then again prison to race, back around to prison and poverty–and I think it serves as a powerful introduction to the prison abolition movements.

I’m still cutting my teeth on many of his recommendations in this piece, but I appreciated it as a start and thought you might too.



  1. says

    The American prison system is flat-out unconstitutional and the entire nation ought to be ashamed of it. The whole justice system is horribly broken, too, or it wouldn’t have turned into what it is. It’s incredible that the US maintains such a medieval mess, and has the gall to talk about “rule of law.” Arrgh! There isn’t a bit about it that’s not “cruel and unusual” except the parts where they imprison you like you’re innocent before proven guilty in order to pressure you into pleading guilty to a lesser charge than what they stack up against you.

    If there was any justice, those responsible for the US prison system would burst into flames and die horribly.

  2. says

    Nodding along with many things said there.
    Even in “better places” prisons are usually the thing that kicks off a downward spiral of crime and more crime.
    But then the system is happy with that. Doesn’t it show that this person needed to be locked away in the first place?