Prison industrial complex (PIC) abolition is a political vision with the goal of eliminating imprisonment, policing, and surveillance and creating lasting alternatives to punishment and imprisonment.
From where we are now, sometimes it is challenging to imagine what abolition is going to look like. Abolition isn’t just about getting rid of buildings full of cages. It’s also about undoing the society we live in because the PIC both feeds on and maintains oppression and inequalities through punishment, violence, and controls millions of people. Because the PIC is not an isolated system, abolition is a broad strategy. An abolitionist vision means that we must build models today that can represent how we want to live in the future. It means developing practical strategies for taking small steps that move us toward making our dreams real and that lead us all to believe that things really could be different. It means living this vision in our daily lives.
Abolition is both a practical organizing tool and a long-term goal. - Critical Resistance, “Our Communities, Our Solutions: An Organizer’s Toolkit for Developing Campaigns to Abolish Policing” (2020)
Are you new to abolition, or just want to learn some basics? Here are some good starting points:
- Angela Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete
- Mariame Kaba, 9 Commitments for 2021
- Mariame Kaba, Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police
- Abolition for the People series
- Alex Vitale, The End of Policing
- Instead of Prisons and Berkeley Underground Scholars Language Guide
- Intercepted, Ruth Wilson Gilmore Makes the Case for Abolition
- Inside This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women’s Prisons
- One Million Experiments
- Project Nia, Cosmic Possibilities: An Intergalactic Youth Guide to Abolition
And here are some library worker-created resources:
- WhimseyLibrarian Policing Doesn’t Protect Us
Ready to learn more? See our Resources list.