Abolition: The organization Critical Resistance defines prison industrial complex (PIC) abolition as “a political vision with the goal of eliminating imprisonment, policing and surveillance and creating lasting alternatives to punishment and imprisonment.
From where we are now, sometimes we can’t really imagine what abolition is going to look like. Abolition isn’t just about getting rid of buildings full of cages. It’s also about undoing the society we live in because the PIC both feeds on and maintains oppression and inequalities through punishment, violence, and controls millions of people. Because the PIC is not an isolated system, abolition is a broad strategy. An abolitionist vision means that we must build models today that can represent how we want to live in the future. It means developing practical strategies for taking small steps that move us toward making our dreams real and that lead us all to believe that things really could be different. It means living this vision in our daily lives.
Abolition is both a practical organizing tool and a long-term goal.”
Abolition movement: the abolition movement is a collection of organizations and individuals working towards a world without state-sponsored violence as a response to our collective need for safety.
Accountability: Connie Burk of the Northwest Network explains it, “an internal resource for recognizing and redressing the harms we have caused to ourselves and others.” Rather than an individual act, accountability is an on-going process to shift, challenge, and disrupt harmful behaviors and the systems that abet these behaviors.
Bail: the amount of money required to secure one’s freedom during the period before a person goes to trial.
Intersectionality: In the 1980s Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term “intersectionality” in a legal challenge to the hiring practices of General Motors. Ms Crenshaw and other legal scholars argued that the experiences of Black women in the workplace were not captured solely by the disparate experiences of racism and sexism. Instead, the intersection of these oppressions created a distinct category and therefore demanded a distinct protected class. Intersectionality is a way to describe the unique experiences of people who carry the social weight of multiple identities (e.g., Black and queer, Latinx and woman, Asian and gay).
Transformative justice: a political framework and approach for responding to violence, harm and abuse. At its most basic, it seeks to respond to violence without creating more violence and/or engaging in harm reduction to lessen the violence. TJ can be thought of as a way of “making things right,” getting in “right relation,” or creating justice together. Transformative justice responses and interventions 1) do not rely on the state (e.g. police, prisons, the criminal legal system, I.C.E., foster care system (though some TJ responses do rely on or incorporate social services like counseling); 2) do not reinforce or perpetuate violence such as oppressive norms or vigilantism; and most importantly, 3) actively cultivate the things we know prevent violence such as healing, accountability, resilience, and safety for all involved.
Policing: Critical Resistance defines policing as “a social relationship made up of a set of practices that are empowered by the state to enforce law and social control through the use of force. Reinforcing the oppressive social and economic relationships that have been central to the US throughout its history, the roots of policing in the United States are closely linked the capture of people escaping slavery, and the enforcement of Black Codes. Similarly, police forces have been used to keep new immigrants “in line” and to prevent the poor and working classes from making demands. As social conditions change, how policing is used to target poor people, people of color, immigrants, and others who do not conform on the street or in their homes also shifts. The choices policing requires about which people to target, what to target them for, and when to arrest a book them play a major role in who ultimately gets imprisoned.”