Many arms reaching to bend prison bars and birds escaping

Talk: “Shrinking the Prison Industrial Complex: Strategic Abolitionist Organizing in the 21st Century” by Mariame Kaba

Part of the Center for Advance Study Initiative on Abolition

Prisons are not ‘broken’ nor are they rehabilitative. They exist to punish and control. In fact, the prison industrial complex (PIC) reinforces and reproduces systems of oppression that perpetuate the violence we experience. Founded in 2009, Project NIA has been organizing to end the PIC by developing solutions that transform violence. It is part of a movement whose goal is to build a world focused on accountability, healing and transformation for everyone. In this lecture, Mariame Kaba will argue that shrinking the PIC by relying on non-reformist reforms can help move us towards an abolitionist future, offering examples of past and current abolitionist campaigns.

Abolition is an exciting new initiative examining the radical, yet realizable, possibilities of abolition in its many forms. Abolition is not solely defined by the negative process of dismantling destructive structures and systems, but primarily seeks to build the type of society we want to live in, one that does not require disposing of entire sectors of our social world, but creates the conditions where all can survive and thrive. It is about redirecting the massive resources spent on systems of oppression toward positive investments like education, public health, and restorative justice. The goal of this new initiative is to examine the multiple, convergent forms of power in the at times intersectional areas of prisons, police, immigrant justice, gendered and sexual violence, environmental justice, disability justice, and more, in order to propose an abolitionist democratic present and future.

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For further information, visit the Center for Advanced Study (external link) or call (217) 333-6729.

To request disability-related accommodations for this event, please contact Brian Cudiamat at (217) 244-5586 or (email link).