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Foundations

EXPLORING THE ROOTS OF THE CARCERAL STATE

41 posts in ‘Foundations’

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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Futures

Abolition Can Mend Our Democracy

How might we reimagine our rights and liberties in the absence of incarceration?

Angela Y. Davis

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public history

The Suburban Drug War

How white, middle-class youth in the suburbs experienced the war on drugs is a largely untold chapter in the arc of mass incarceration.

Matthew D. Lassiter

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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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public history

The Promise of Marronage

Stories of Black flight from enslavement continue to offer lessons for radically rethinking public safety beyond policing.

Celeste Winston

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public history

The Long Revolt

Attica represents far more than a historic rebellion about prison reform. Its revolutionary abolitionist vision endures today.

Orisanmi Burton

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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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public history

Urban Warfare and Corporate-Funded Armies

Atlanta’s Cop City is another chapter in the long history of U.S.-based colonialism. The second installment in a two-part series.

Joy James & Kalonji Jama Changa

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excerpt

The Embodied Observers

Carceral settings imprison an untold number of experts—outsiders on the inside who have much to teach us about mass incarceration.

Michelle Daniel Jones

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activism

Alabama Rising

For the past decade, people incarcerated in Alabama have led successful national worker strikes. Could a new prisoners’ rights movement be underway?

Andrew Ross & Aiyuba Thomas

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public history

The Buried Roots of Carceral Labor

The U.S. history of coerced prison work is older—and more northern—than its popular origin story tends to acknowledge.

Rebecca McLennan

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public history

The House of D

In the history of a shuttered lockup for queer women in New York City, a reminder that incarceration has always been a form of social control.

Hugh Ryan

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abolition

Slave Rebel or Citizen?

Abolitionist Ruchell Cinqué Magee is the country’s longest-held political prisoner.

Joy James & Kalonji Jama Changa

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legal history

A Spirit, Unbroken

How Martin Sostre’s ‘single act of resistance’ stood for a broader struggle for bodily autonomy and collective liberation.

Garrett Felber

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collective action

An End to Bread and Water

When the state of Virginia starved them, the author and his incarcerated comrades banded together to gain recognition of their right as citizens to access the courts.

Calvin Arey

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Ideas & Essays

Whose Abolition?

Du Bois’s ‘Black Reconstruction’ is widely embraced by decarceral activists, but it celebrates state violence in a way few would now accept.

Quinn Lester

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excerpt

Defending Attica

How radical lawyers played a key role standing up for survivors of the Attica uprising.

Luca Falciola

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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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legal history

Blood in the Borderlands

Mexicans and Mexican Americans have long been targets of legal and extralegal violence by the police. Learning this history is a step toward ending abuses that persist to this day.

Brian Behnken

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excerpt

A Point of No Return

Understanding the past of the Cook County Jail is understanding its present.

Melanie Newport

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Photo Essay

Archives of Resistance

The movement to end police violence has a rich visual history. In Brooklyn, a collective of volunteers is doing its part to preserve it.

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democracy & power

Culture Wars and Criminalization

Absent a sustained politics of solidarity, culture wars will continue to erode civil rights while criminalizing, surveilling, and punishing those who claim them

Kay Whitlock

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In Depth

Hidden Transcripts

The Reagan administration’s entrenchment of a retaliatory immigration detention regime sowed seeds of resistance that persist to this day.

Kristina Shull

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voices

Caring Collectively

Looking back on 25 years of abolitionist feminism and organizing in California.

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Reflections

Inquest: Year One

A reflection from the founding editors of Inquest on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the publication.

Andrew Crespo, Premal Dharia & Cristian Farias

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Reflections

Juneteenth and Black Liberation

Our government's history of oppression compels us to free those Black revolutionaries aging in our prisons.

Nebil Husayn

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Policing

Shattering Broken Windows

For decades, policing so-called ‘quality of life’ issues has had devastating effects. This approach must cease to exist.

Katherine Beckett

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In Depth

Making Men Pay

For incarcerated fathers, child-support and related debt create their own feedback loops of disadvantage and punishment.

Lynne Haney

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Surveillance

Deconfiguring the Security State

The roots of e-carceration run deep, and we need to articulate digital abolition as the solution.

James Kilgore & Malkia Devich Cyril

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Beyond Reform

Rethinking the State

For criminal law to become truly unexceptional, we must rethink our society, and its legal structures, as a whole.

Benjamin Levin

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