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Decarceral Pathways

TESTING AND SHARING DECARCERAL IDEAS

108 posts in ‘Decarceral Pathways’

advocacy

Back to Appalachia

They were incarcerated in Eastern Kentucky, far from home. Now they’re free and back, hoping the region won’t build a new prison there.

Katie Myers

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organizing

Building Community

For many years, Kentuckians have been fighting the construction of a federal prison. They’ve been winning, but their fight isn’t over.

Sylvia Ryerson

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first person

Learning to Live

For incarcerated people, prison education programs can offer not only knowledge but also hope that a different future is possible.

Alexander X

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abolition

How We Rode the Storm

After Hurricane Katrina, law enforcement criminalized sex work and Black women like never before. We fought back—and won.

Laura McTighe & Women With A Vision

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campaigns

Disrupting Carceral Narratives

There can be justice beyond punishment. To realize it, we must challenge the narrative that carceral violence is the only response to other forms of violence.

Charlene Allen & Cameron Rasmussen

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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 practices that made prisons more permeable can be a step toward ending mass incarceration.

Reiko Hillyer

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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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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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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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Futures

No More Family Policing

Black, Brown, Indigenous, disabled, and poor children and their families bear the brunt of a system that many now agree should be dismantled.

Eleanor Bader

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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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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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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

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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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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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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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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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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recommendations

Our End-of-Summer Reading List

Decarceral ideas and essays that have moved our readers in the past year.

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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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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

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

Radicalized in Service of Others

Organizing and collective acts of resistance allow us to not only imagine new understandings of justice and safety, but to live them out.

Jocelyn Simonson

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Beyond Reform

No Place for Families

Only an end to family court can lead to a radical reimagining of how we support children and caregivers.

Jane Spinak

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In Depth

The Carceral Labor Continuum

So many people, on both sides of the prison wall, labor under threat of state violence. This opens a path to more robust, far-reaching worker solidarity.

Noah Zatz

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