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Prison abolition, contradiction and the justice system

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conference contribution
posted on 05.10.2021, 23:18 by Ti LamusseTi Lamusse
Prison abolitionism is nearly as old as the prison itself. Yet, despite almost century-long efforts of prison abolitionists, imprisonment rates in the much of the West remain unfathomably high compared to 30 years ago. This paper examines the differing logics of prison abolitionism over the last 40 years and how, despite revolutionary rhetoric, many contemporary abolitionist movements and academics seem hostile to proposing of concrete alternatives. As the paper will demonstrate, this is partially due to an incoherent idealism that has infected abolitionism. As a counter-narrative, this paper will outline the necessity of a historical materialist framework of abolitionism that exploits contradictions within the capitalist justice system. It proposes alternatives, based on existing conditions and contradictions, which make prisons redundant.


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Lamusse, T. (2019, January). Prison abolition, contradiction and the justice system. In Historical Materialism Melbourne Conference, Victorian Trades Hall.

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Historical Materialism Melbourne Conference

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Abstract; Unpublished Paper

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Victorian Trades Hall

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