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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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Big Data

Borders and Bytes

So-called “smart” borders are just more sophisticated sites of racialized surveillance and violence. We need abolitionist tools to counter them.

Ruha Benjamin

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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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In Their Words

Ambassadors to Freedom

People condemned to die in prison are telling the world about it—and fighting to free one another in the process.

Marcus Kondkar, Calvin Duncan, Annie Nisenson, Daryl Waters, Ron Hicks & Everett Offray

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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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book review

Outsmarting a Monster

Jails are everywhere, trapping people and resources belonging to communities. And everywhere, there are organizers contesting that reality.

Charlotte Rosen

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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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campaigns

Beauty on the Inside

A look at how decarceral, abolitionist filmmaking can help us envision new worlds.

Sylvia Ryerson, Andy Myers, Adamu Chan & Andrew Crespo

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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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organizing

Abolition Everywhere

Despite the stumbling blocks imposed by Republican state governments, abolition is happening in the South and in small towns, with organizing specially tailored to local needs.

Meghan Krausch

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interventions

On Both Sides of the Gun

Community-based gun violence prevention is at a crossroads. A group in Chicago shows how abolition may hold the key to its future.

Cristian Farias

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Essay

Abolition Is Practical

Putting our ideas into practice—allowing ourselves to try, fail, and try again—will be how we move closer to a world without the harms of policing, prisons, and punishment.

Rachel Herzing

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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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book review

Cages Without Borders

A new book centers prisons in the history of U.S. empire, reminding us of the need for international solidarity in the fight for freedom.

Stuart Schrader

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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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In Depth

When ‘Community’ Isn’t Actually the Community

The crisis of youth incarceration won’t be solved by cynical attempts to co-opt the language of grassroots organizing.

Sarah Cate

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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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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

#Freethebooks

A collaboration with PEN America, aimed at the plight of carceral censorship and how people in prison are harmed by it.

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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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roundtable

A Constellation of Tactics

Radical acts of justice can happen within the confines of the system. Or well outside it, as demonstrated by the organized resistance to Atlanta’s Cop City.

Micah Herskind

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roundtable

From Reformism to Revolution

As organizers in Illinois know well, it is necessary to engage with criminalizing institutions to better learn how to defeat them.

Sharlyn Grace

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roundtable

Keeping Each Other Safe

Acting within the criminal legal system cannot be the solution, on its own, to the existence of the carceral state.

Jocelyn Simonson

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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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Film review

Reframing Our Outrage

A new film reminds us that caring about survivors means working to prevent and respond to all violence—including carceral violence.

Ieshaah Murphy

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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.

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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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advocacy

Chained by Debt

Erasing court costs and fines is a relatively small change that would have an outsize impact on those harmed by mass incarceration.

Shivani Nishar & Sarah Martino

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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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