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activism

Gay Liberation and the Carceral State

Recovering a vision of queer solidarity with incarcerated people may just be what people disaffected by the gay rights movement need today.

Michael Bronski

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advocacy

Philly’s Safe Consumption Fight

Public skepticism about scientific research, coupled with echoes of the war on drugs, have hindered our city’s ability to respond to our overdose crisis.

Shoshana Aronowitz

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excerpt

Unmaking Prison Walls

Reacquainting ourselves with a time when commutations, furloughs, and conjugal visits made prisons more permeable can be a step toward ending mass incarceration.

Reiko Hillyer

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Policing

Unsafe on Campus

Policing on college campuses falls hardest on formerly incarcerated students, leaving them and the broader community unprotected.

Ryan Flaco Rising

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first person

Hope Against Hope

A candid portrait of the experience of fighting for clemency in Louisiana—a route to freedom now severely threatened by the state’s new carceral governor.

Daryl Waters

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campaigns

A Breakthrough on Solitary

Connecting it to the fight for disability rights has helped activists in California to make exciting progress in their effort to end solitary confinement.

Pamila Lew

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activism

No Killing Revolutionary Hope

The oral histories of political prisoners shed light on their true character—and expose the darkness of the state.

Josh Davidson & Eric King

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Crimmigration

Decriminalizing Migration

Taking criminal law out of immigration enforcement is a step toward safer, healthier communities. But is it enough?

Cristian Farias

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activism

Asymmetrical Partners

Activism must involve incarcerated people—but few outside advocates really understand the dangers and limitations that imprisoned organizers face.

Ivan Kilgore, Paula Lehman-Ewing & Glenn E. Martin

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File

Series

Abolition in Action

A collection of essays exploring how people are practicing abolition in their communities, in partnership with Truthout.

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campaigns

Renewing New Orleans

Anti-jail organizers scored important wins in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. But their fight isn’t over.

Lydia Pelot-Hobbs

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Essay

‘And They Stripped Him’

The Gospel narrative places on Christians a moral burden to not turn away from the sexual vulnerability of incarcerated people today.

Richard X

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Reflections

Yearning to Go Home

Life-without-parole sentences hit families especially hard. Yet they fight on, committed to their loved ones’ freedom.

Kunlyna Tauch & Abigail Higgins

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interventions

Papers, Please

Reparations for historic wrongs require concrete action, and that’s no different for the untold harm caused by cannabis criminalization.

Adam Vine

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In Depth

How We Ended Wealth-Based Jailing

In Illinois, ending money bond was our target. Pretrial freedom is our goal.

Matthew McLoughlin

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Futures

Fractal Abolition

The work of tearing down structures of harm while building the world we want can and must start small.

Andrea J. Ritchie

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Series & Collections

Since our launch, we have published a number of essay series and collections examining drivers of and solutions to our crisis of mass incarceration. Find them all here.

Explore

book review

The Gun of Incarceration

Probation and parole in the United States don’t work. A longtime reformer and advocate has drawn a blueprint to end them.

Cristian Farias

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law & policy

Exceptional Punishments

No one should be made to give up their rights in exchange for being spared from prison.

Kate Weisburd

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public health

Beware the Healthier Cage

In Atlanta politicians are pushing for a bigger jail they claim will be more humane. But health-care workers are pushing back.

Mark Spencer

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abolition

Abolishing the Family

The fight against police and prisons cannot be separated from the struggle to extend care beyond the limits of the family form.

Quinn Lester

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A closer look

Our Evidence-Based Obsession

Better research won’t get us out of our crisis of mass incarceration.

Jonathan Ben Menachem

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Surveillance

In the Shadows, on the Radar

The lives of undocumented immigrants are very much documented—subject to the surveillance that’s endemic to contemporary life in the United States.

Asad L. Asad

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What we are reading

The Inquest bookshelf

A selection of recent books that invite us to imagine a world without mass incarceration.

#SayHerName: Black Women’s Stories of Police Violence and Public Silence

by Kimberlé Crenshaw and the African American Policy Forum

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Radical Acts of Justice: How Ordinary People Are Dismantling Mass Incarceration

by Jocelyn Simonson

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The End of Family Court: How Abolishing the Court Brings Justice to Children and Families

by Jane M. Spinak

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Purgatory Citizenship: Reentry, Race, and Abolition

by CalvinJohn Smiley

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collective action

Imprisoned but United

How the peaceful takeover of Walpole prison in 1973 holds lessons for abolitionists today.

Thomas Dichter

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first person

Envisioning Futures

The art of knowing what we’re confronting and revealing who is being made invisible by the carceral state.

Maria Gaspar & Gina Dent

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Futures

Rejecting Our Fear of Each Other

In order to invest in a vision for a new way of living, we have to believe in our capacity to create something better—together.

Kelly Hayes & Mariame Kaba

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inquestcaptivelabor

Series

CAPTIVE LABOR

A collection of essays at the intersection of labor and the carceral state, in partnership with LPE Blog.

Read the essays

Past, Present & Future of Mass Incarceration

activism

Quashing Dissent

Critical infrastructure laws are cynical attempts by corporations to manipulate public fears of terrorism to protect their own profits.

Bill Quigley

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social control

Putting Reentry Out of Business

Reentry is an extension of the carceral continuum, a limbo between confinement and freedom.

CalvinJohn Smiley

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campaigns

Do You Know Their Names?

When slain by police, Black women and girls rarely garner the same communal outcry or political response as their fallen Black brothers.

Kimberlé W. Crenshaw

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interventions

Books as Decarceral

By helping non-incarcerated people to experience a human connection with people inside, volunteering can open a curtain in the mind.

Kelly Brotzman

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interventions

A Place to Be Free

Life in prison is hard. Transitioning back home through reentry shouldn’t be harder.

Richard Cruz, Anthony Ammons & David Carranza

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A portion of the cover of Clarence Earl Gideon's petition to the Supreme Court of the United States

Series

Beyond Gideon

A collection of essays examining how—or whether—public defenders can meaningfully contribute to the end of mass incarceration.

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In Their Words

A Community Judge

As a newly elected judge assigned to misdemeanor court in Los Angeles, a former public defender sees her new role as serving those impacted by the system.

Holly Hancock

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activism

Black Power Meets Police Power

The experiences of Michael and Zoharah Simmons show that the fight against the carceral state is embedded in a larger project of building a just world.

Dan Berger

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In Depth

Data-Driven Decarceration

A close analysis of prison data can help us think concretely, and strategically, about the tradeoffs of different approaches to decarceration and prison closures.

Ben Grunwald

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