As demonstrations against racial injustice and police misconduct sweep the U.S., activists and scholars calling for massive decreases to police spending and deep, structural changes to the prison system have suddenly gained mainstream attention. To better understand the arguments for ‘defunding the police’ and abolishing prisons, explore this list of essential reading curated by political scientist Megan Ming Francis.
Grassroots groups around Chicago are already putting abolitionist ideas into practice.
In three decades of advocating for prison abolition, the activist and scholar has helped transform how people think about criminal justice.
Over the last 30 years, at both the national and local levels, governments have dramatically increased their spending on criminalization, policing, and mass incarceration while drastically cutting investments in basic infrastructure and slowing investment in social safety net programs.
Black people’s citizenship remains tethered to whether or not white people feel “safe” around them.
Past budget cuts have had unintended consequences. Now, proponents say it’s time to fundamentally reimagine the role of the police.
As cases of police abuse and misconduct gain attention, activists have moved beyond calls for reform to advocate for the abolition of police. It’s a controversial and widely misunderstood idea. How would police abolition work, exactly? How would we protect public safety? Radical Imagination host Angela Glover Blackwell explores these questions with humanitarian hip-hop artist Jessica Disu, a.k.a. FM Supreme, who has publicly called for police abolition.
Josie and Clint discuss prison abolition with Mariame Kaba, one of the leading organizers in the fight against America’s criminal legal system and a contributing editor for The Appeal. Mariame discusses her own journey into this work, provides perspective on the leaders in this space, and helps us reimagine what the future of this system could look like.
A cross-generational group of leading scholars, activists, and incarcerated women lead discussions on the rich tradition of activism and social theory in the late 20th century using the life and work of the political activist and pioneering philosopher Angela Davis.
A comprehensive road map for understanding how we have arrived at the present political moment of brutality and rebellion.
About the curator
Megan Ming Francis is a Visiting Associate Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington. She is author of the award-winning book Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State (2014) and is currently at work on a second book project that examines the role of convict leasing in the rebuilding of southern political power and modern capitalism after the Civil War.
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