EIJC Summer Session #4 (Prison Abolition)


Monday, July 20, 2020, 2:30pm to 3:30pm



Prison Abolition: building a world without cages

We’ll be discussing prison abolition - a political vision that “seeks to end the use of punitive policing and imprisonment as the primary means of addressing what are essentially social, economic, and political problems. Abolition aims at dramatically reducing reliance on incarceration and building the social institutions and conceptual frameworks that would render incarceration unnecessary.“ (McLeod 2015, UCLA Law Review)

I’ll begin with a ~20 minute introduction starting with the history of prisons (particularly focusing on the US) and its role in upholding structures of oppression. I’ll then discuss the school-to-prison pipeline and finally end on a hopeful note: what prison abolition means and how to support its mission. We’ll then break out into discussion groups for 15 minutes, and reserve the last 15 minutes for a group-wide discussion.

Before the session, please listen to this short podcast on prison abolition:
- News Beat Podcast: Is Prison Abolition Possible? - https://www.usnewsbeat.com/is-prison-abolition-possible (20 min)

Optional but highly recommended:
- The Groundings Podcast: The School to Prison Pipeline https://groundings.simplecast.com/episodes/the-school-to-prison-oNYHRB7B (35 min)
- Marking Time: Prison Arts and Activism Resource Guide (specifically the figures/images) http://irw.rutgers.edu/images/MT_Guide_RESOURCE_GUIDE_web.pdf

Additional resources:
- 16 bars (documentary on Netflix)
- Prison Studies Project (http://prisonstudiesproject.org/) - began at Harvard in 2008
- Are Prisons Obsolete? - Book by Angela Davis (short, 115 pages, very accessible)
- Black and Pink - organization supporting LGBTQ+ prisoners (https://www.blackandpink.org/)