Prisoner Solidarity

Printed alongside Why Should I Become a Pen-Pal to a Queer Prisoner?

A drawing of a banner that says Prisoner Solidarity

What’s Prison Abolition?

The experiences of those who have been affected by the criminal (in)justice system, along with numerous studies, show us that prisons do not provide justice, or public safety. Prisons are extremely violent and damaging environments that leave people who come out (the vast majority of people in prison will eventually return to their communities) much worse off physically, emotionally, and psychologically than when they came in. Recidivism rates in Canada are estimated at between 50% and 80%. Prisons fail to give any kind of healing to victims, or accountability to communities. What we need are community-based responses that keep perpetrators accountable and provide self-determination of victims, while at the same time transforming the conditions that created violence in the first place (it is also worth noting that over 85% of people in prison in Canada are there for non-violent crimes). Affordable housing; accessible, well-paying and safe jobs; education and health care; personal relationships based on equality, not domination—these are the things that keep us safe. Abolition is the idea that prisons cannot be reformed, made more humane, made more environmentally conscious—they just have to go. Check out the Transformative Justice section in School Schmool (the following article) to learn more about the alternatives to incarceration.

A drawing of a house.