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Prison Abolition

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On Prison Abolition

At Goldsmiths Students' Union we support prison abolition. We know from the lived experiences of black people, incarcerated people, and survivors of sexual violence that the current systems do not work. We look to a world where the causes and effects of social inequity, economic disenfrachisement, and human rights violations are addressed within a frame of compassionate, holistic, and restorative justice.

...but what exactly is prison abolition?

When we talk about prison abolition, lots of questions come to mind. What is it? How can this happen? What does a world without prisons look like? How can we stay safe?

As part of Black History Month 2020, we co-hosted a Prison Abolition Q&A where academics and activists adressed these questions.


Thank you to Imani Robinson from Black Abolitionists UK, Dr Aviah Day from Birbeck, Ayotomi from SWARM and Chelsea Jackson! 




Learn More

If you’re interested in reading more about Prison abolition, especially how it fits in with our shared vision of tackling and eliminating sexual violence, check out this reading list.

A special thank you to Hareem Ghani for her suggestions and work on this subject with us.


Prison Abolition x Against Sexual Violence

Articles // Blogs // Zines

Is it time to reimagine justice and accountability for sexual misconduct?
Maya Dukmasova for the Chicago Reader

From “Me Too” to “All of Us”: Organizing to End Sexual Violence, Without Prisons
Sarah Jaffe in Conversation with Mariame Kaba and Shira Hassan for In These Times

How can we reconcile prison abolition with #MeToo?
Victoria Law for Filter Magazine

Immigrants Who Defend Themselves From Sexual Violence Face Prison, Deportation
Victoria Law for Truthout

Why don’t sentences for accused sex offenders teach them to treat women like people?
Victoria Law for The Guardian

If we abolish police, what happens to rapist?
Cassandra Mensah for Teen Vogue

When People Who Harm Don’t Consent to Transformative Justice
Hunter Ashleigh Shackelford on Medium

What about the rapists?, Anarchist Approaches to Crime and Justice
A Zine by Dysophia

Videos // Podcasts

Resisting Gender Violence Without Cops or Prison
An Interview with Victoria "Vikki" Law by Angola 3 News
(11 minute Youtube video)

Sexual Violence and Transformative Justice in Abolitionist Times
A Disscussion with Beyond Survival: Stories and Strategies of the Transformative Justice Movement
(1hour 24 minute Youtube Video)

“Just Paint the Walls Pink”: Gender, Prison and Carceral Feminism
by Novara Media
(1 hour podcast episode)


The Feminist and The Sex Offender
by Judith Levine and Erica Meiner

Inside This Place, Not Of It
by Robin Levi and Ayelet Waldman


Prison Abolition General ?Resources

Videos // Podcasts

The Hard Stop
The story of Mark Duggan, who was shot and killed in Tottenham in 2011, is brought to the screen in this humane, thought-provoking and topical documentary. Available to rent from the British Film Institute.

In this thought-provoking documentary, scholars, activists, and politicians analyse the criminalisation of African Americans and the US prison boom. Available to stream on Netflix.

Articles // Books

Prison: A Survival Guide
by Carl Cattermole 

Are Prisons Obsolete
by Angela Davis

Discipline and Punish
by Michel Foucault

Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California
by Ruth Wilson Gilmore

Is Prison Necessary? Ruth Wilson Gilmore Might Change Your Mind
Ruth Wilson Gilmore for The New York Times

Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women
by Victoria Law?

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
by Alexander Michelle

Jailbirds: Lessons from a Women’s Prison
by Miriam “Mim” Skinner

Prisons of Poverty
by Loïc Wacquant

Carceral Capitalism
by Jackie Wang

Do you have any suggestions or recommendations to add to this list?
Email Lou, the ASV Project Administrator, at