10 Books about Prison Abolition to Read in 2014

Here are 10 amazing, insight-filled, compassionate, revolutionary books about prison abolition that I read in 2013, listed in descending order of how much I loved them. Please check them out and leave comments on this blog, or email us your reactions at uoprisonjustice@gmail.com!

10 MUST-READ PRISON ABOLITION BOOKS

10. Stories of Transformative Justice by Ruth Morris

9. The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

8. Soledad Brother by George Jackson

7. Prisons Will Not Protect You edited by Against Equality and Ryan Conrad

6. The Prisoner’s Wife by asha bandele

5. Assata by Assata Shakur

4. Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison-Industrial Complex edited by Nat Smith and Eric Stanley

3. If they come in the morning: Voices of Resistance edited by Angela Davis and US political prisoners

2. Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States by Joey Mogul, Andrea Ritchie, and Kay Whitlock

1. The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence within Activist Communities edited by Ching-in Chen, Jai Dulani, and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Also, a plug for a truly indispensable work on prison abolition, which I wish I could give to every person in the United States: Are Prisons Obsolete? by the incomparable Angela Davis. Start there in 2014, as it’s the essential introduction to thinking about a world without prisons. Here’s to more reading and more liberation in 2014!

What do Chicagoans envision for a better world?

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Part of prison abolition is articulating concretely what we’re looking to make tangible in a world without prisons. This photo blog of Chicagoans responding to the question, “What does community safety look like?” is an inspiration that should provoke all of us to start thinking more deeply and genuinely about what community safety is, and how we can get there. Check it out here! http://communitysafetychicago.tumblr.com/image/71614665813

Community Safety Chicago’s tumblr has also been added to our Resources page, which is chock-full of ideas and strategies for building the world we want! No more cages! Yes to healthcare, transformative justice, and potlucks! 

Interview with Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha about accountability and transformation

Everyday Abolition is a website that is currently collecting interviews, writing, artwork, and more from prison abolitionists in an effort to document the ways that people live the politics of prison abolition, every day. This interview from everydayabolition.com with Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is profound and beautiful and inspiring! Check it out here: http://everydayabolition.com/2013/06/06/interview-with/

Check out Hidden Expressions, Vol. 1!

The amazing Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois–a group dedicated to prison abolition, gender self-determination, and transformative justice–has just released Hidden Expressions, a compilation of poems, stories, and artwork by transgender and gender non-conforming people who have been or are currently incarcerated.

Check it out here! http://www.tjlp.org/HiddenExpressionsFINAL1.30.12_Reduce.pdf. UO Prison Justice is also adding it to our Resources page where it will be available for download.

Alternatives to Incarceration Tuesday

Okay, so maybe it’s not Friday, but isn’t every day a good day to learn about successful, non-punitive alternatives to the prison-industrial complex? Today UO Prison Justice wants to highlight the work of the Community Conferencing Center in Baltimore, described on their website as “a conflict transformation and community justice organization that provides ways for people to safely, collectively and effectively prevent and resolve conflicts and crime.” The community conferences that the CCC organizes in Baltimore are unique in that the CCC is the only conferencing program in the US serving a large inner-city population that provides most of its services at absolutely no cost to participants. 

Check out this inspiring video with some real examples of conferences organized by the Center here: http://vimeo.com/user9342943. But I’m warning you, this video might just change your life and the entire way you think about justice, retribution, and resolution for harm! Thanks to Walidah Imarisha for sharing this video during a workshop on alternatives to the prison system in Eugene in March 2013. 

Leave your reactions to the video in the comments!

Interview with Mia Mingus, transformative justice activist

Yesterday the Oakland Local posted an amazing interview with Mia Mingus, a queer disabled woman of color activist who’s been involved in generationFIVE, a group working to end child sexual abuse in five generations, and SPARK Reproductive Justice Now, a movement for reproductive justice based in Atlanta, GA. In the interview, Mia discusses ableism, healing, and community-centered methods for responding to multiple kinds of violence. This interview is really powerful! Check it out here: http://oaklandlocal.com/2013/05/an-interview-with-mia-mingus-oakland-champion-of-change-on-transformative-justice/

Alternatives to Incarceration Friday

Happy Alternatives to Incarceration Friday! Starting this week, UO Prison Justice will be posting every Friday to highlight a story or example of an alternative to incarceration that is currently being experimented with across the country. UO Prison Justice loves Fridays, and we hate prisons, so it feels to us like a natural combination! 

This week, check out a story from the New York Daily News about a district attorney in Brooklyn who believes that mothers convicted of nonviolent felonies will be more successfully rehabilitated if they’re allowed to stay home with their children, rather than being stolen from their communities and families and locked up: Brooklyn DA to launch program allowing female felons to serve sentences at home

Leave your thoughts in the comments, and have a great Alternatives to Incarceration Friday!