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What It Would Take To Abolish Prisons And The Police

Protesters march by a photo of Frederick Douglas, a historic abolitionist, during a Juneteenth protest and march in honor of Rayshard Brooks and other victims of police violence in Boston, Massachusetts. Abolitionists advocate for a world without prisons or police.
Protesters march by a photo of Frederick Douglas, a historic abolitionist, during a Juneteenth protest and march in honor of Rayshard Brooks and other victims of police violence in Boston, Massachusetts. Abolitionists advocate for a world without prisons or police.

Prison abolitionists like Angela Davis and Ruth Wilson Gilmore  have long argued that America’s criminal justice system is beyond repair. And more and more people have been listening, following the Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality. 

Abolitionists advocate for the complete absence of punitive structures and the development of a society that doesn’t use punishment as the primary solution for transgression. It’s as much about building systems that bring up the quality of life for citizens as it is about doing away with cages and those that lock them.

And now that a generation has grown up watching police harass and murder Black and brown people on social media, the movement is becoming even more influential.

Find our conversation with a council member in Minneapolis, who is working to defund the city’s police department.

How do people become abolitionists? What’s the state of the movement now?

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