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Thread: Police and Prison Abolition Thread

  1. #1

    Police and Prison Abolition Thread

    I was hoping to put some more planning and writing into this first post, but for purposes of discussion, I'm starting it. I'll add abolition resources over time.

    Mass incarceration is a very hot topic right now. What does "ending" mass incarceration mean to you? Does it mean shrinking our incarcerated population X%? Should our incarceration rate be at or near the average for other advanced nations? If the answer to the latter question is yes, how do we so drastically cut our incarceration rate to get to that level?

    In order for us to get to an average incarceration rate to the rest of the world, we would have to release 80% of incarcerated people.

    Although incarceration rates have been slightly trending downward, that has been highly influenced by the larger states, and there is still a nationwide trend to address problems of poverty with further expansion of policing and prisons. At our current rate of decrease, it will take until 2166 to get to 1970 incarceration rates.

    The staggering scale of this problem, and the scholarship around abolition, is what led me to seek out answers to these questions.

    I hope to use this thread to talk about these debates, cash bail, the history of policing, and other topics of interest, like "what about the murderers?"

    I welcome ADT and others with experience in the field to offer their insight. ADT, would love you read your paper if you are willing to share.
    Last edited by MHBDemon; 08-25-2020 at 11:36 AM.

  2. #2
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    It's going to be much harder to get anything passed. Using the term "abolition" will harm the process. It's gives the opposition an easy target.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by RJKarl View Post
    It's going to be much harder to get anything passed. Using the term "abolition" will harm the process. It's gives the opposition an easy target.
    Jesus, you are insufferable. People that are socialists shouldn't use the word socialists. We hear the same tired argument from boomers that show up to our medicare for all organizing events. If you don't agree with our politics, then fuck off, but don't tell us what to call ourselves.

    So back to your post, what will be hard to pass?

    "using the term abolition will harm the process." What process?

    Who is the opposition?

  4. #4
    "calling yourself abolitionists will only harm your cause."
    -slaveowners

  5. #5
    It's NOT a simplistic as MHB want to make it.

    Almost all non-far RWers believe prison reform is CRITICAL. Almost all on the left agree that non-violent criminals should NOT be in jail.

    Should there be more cops in some places like gang-ridden places in Chicago? POSSIBLY.
    Should there be more copsin Huntington Beach? Probably NOT, Huntington Beach has an INCREDIBILITY low crime rate.

    Should there be private jails? ABSOLUTELY NOT.
    Should there be mandatory minimum sentences? NOPE, with the possible exception of acts of violence.

    Should there be 3 Strikes for non-violent acts? NO WAY.

    If jails are about rehabilitation as well as punishment, then schooling and training programs should be MANDATORY for everyone.

    Another issue that isn't as simple as some say is bail. There's no question that tens of thousands of people in jail for non-violent offenses who can't afford bail and are NO REAL THREAT. However, there's no reason not to have bail for physical abusers, killers and other VIOLENT crimes.

    Banning the box sounds great at first blush and some form of it should happen. But doesn't an employer who hiring an accountant have the right to know if a person has been convicted of embezzlement? Does a trucking company need to know the person they are hiring had been convicted of multiple DUIs?

    Yes, the generic box needs to go. There's no reason for it in many cases, but there are some where it is fair.

    Again, these the nuances missed by MHB and his brethren

    It's my position. I realize it's not the Black&White position MHB takes about issues, but it is a totally valid position. It's one that moves bar towards fairness and makes it easier to go down the road.

    MHB doesn't want to have a discussion. He won't come off his positions of purity. If YOU want to make massive changes, YOU have to move the ball.

    Keep using tired, lame concepts like ABOLITION, it puts you right alongside your buddies in Charlotte who were carrying tiki torches while they screamed "blood soil" and "white power"

  6. #6

    "Solving Mass Incarceration" (Abolition vs. Reform debate)

    Terminology is important. When do you say abolishing mass incarceration, do you mean dramatically reducing incarceration rates? If yes, how is that different than reforming?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by DistrictDeacon View Post
    Terminology is important. When do you say abolishing mass incarceration, do you mean dramatically reducing incarceration rates? If yes, how is that different than reforming?
    This is what I had hoped to prepare more for an opening post, so I'll try to add more about the distinction later.

    What is important from my perspective is that we "reformed" ourselves to this point. I think the movie 13th does a great job in illustrating how we "reformed" from jim crow into mass incarceration. A lot of the policies that exanded the prison industrial complex were billed as reforms, like the 94 crime bill. The US sentencing commission was set up to reform sentencing laws to make them more equitable, but they actually made them harsher. Policies and budgets that expand police budgets for equipment/bias training/other measures are usually used to expand the PIC, without accountability to communities.

    So after watching the 13th documentary, I really started to ask myself "well how can I be educated so that as we 'reform' away from mass incarceration, how do we do so in a way that ensures we do not further grow and expand the PIC."

    That led me to abolition as a practice. As abolitionists, we believe in non-reformist reforms, coined by Andre Gorz, and used by abolitionists to discuss reforms that reduce harm, but that do not give more power to the state.

    In the most general sense, funding to police for technology, is a bad reformist reform.
    Ending cash bail for me would be a non-reformist reform, because it is materially improving people's lives while at the same time not growing the PIC.

    From an interview with Mariame Kaba:

    Somehow what people think is that either you’re interested in reform or you’re an abolitionist—that you have to choose to be in one camp or the other. I don’t think that way. For some people, reform is the main focus and end goal and for some people, abolition is the horizon. But I don’t know anybody who is an abolitionist—who I know personally, and I don’t know every abolitionist, obviously, because there are so many people in the world who practice and think and who use abolition in various ways— I don’t know a single a one who doesn’t support some reforms.

    Mainly if those reforms are, to use the term coined by Andre Gorz & popularized by Ruthie Gilmore here in the U.S., non-reformist-reforms. How do we think about reforms that don’t make it harder for us to dismantle the systems we are trying to abolish? That don’t make it harder to create new things? What are the reforms that are “non-reformist” that will help us keep moving towards the horizon of abolition? Sometimes people who you love dearly want you to fight for their reformist reform—they want you to fight for something they think will benefit a small tiny sliver of the people [harmed by] this behemoth monster without consideration for how it would then entrench other things that would make life harder for other types of people.

  8. #8
    Pretty much agree with Sokolove, especially on non-violent drug offenses and bail issues for non-violent offenders. If you make a low income person post significant bail, you're pretty much making them lose their job, which helps no one involved in the process.

  9. #9
    moved from other thread

    Quote Originally Posted by MHBDemon View Post
    When you talk to people about prison reform today, you frequently get one of "yeah, we should not have for-profit prisons" or "yeah people should not be in jail for non-violent drug offenses."

    The reality is these two things still play just a minor role in the overall expansion of the PIC. I think private prisons only make up ~7% of our incarcerated population, and although my recollection could be off, non-violent drug offenders make up less than 10%.

    So you have to examine the whole system, and not just those two aspects of the system which one deems as flawed.
    I think non-violent drug offenses are a little over 20%

    The biggest need that I see in justice reform that is relatively simple/attainable is the ending of a cash bail system. There are over 560,000 people in jail awaiting trial - the vast majority simply because they can't afford bail, which has ripple effects toward employment, etc.

  10. #10
    Rusty Larue

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    Quote Originally Posted by DistrictDeacon View Post
    Terminology is important. When do you say abolishing mass incarceration, do you mean dramatically reducing incarceration rates? If yes, how is that different than reforming?
    Reformists believe the problem of mass incarceration is the “mass” part. “There are a bunch of people in our prisons who don’t belong there; let’s fix the system so those people aren’t incarcerated.”

    Abolitionists believe the problem with mass incarceration is the “incarceration” part. “Incarcerating people is bad. Period. Let’s fix the system so people aren’t incarcerated.”

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by RChildress107 View Post
    Reformists believe the problem of mass incarceration is the “mass” part. “There are a bunch of people in our prisons who don’t belong there; let’s fix the system so those people aren’t incarcerated.”

    Abolitionists believe the problem with mass incarceration is the “incarceration” part. “Incarcerating people is bad. Period. Let’s fix the system so people aren’t incarcerated.”
    This is a good answer. thanks.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MHBDemon View Post
    Jesus, you are insufferable. People that are socialists shouldn't use the word socialists. We hear the same tired argument from boomers that show up to our medicare for all organizing events. If you don't agree with our politics, then fuck off, but don't tell us what to call ourselves.

    So back to your post, what will be hard to pass?

    "using the term abolition will harm the process." What process?

    Who is the opposition?
    You need to get over your Pavlovian response to everything I post. Your obnoxious posts drive people away who basically support your desires. But you'll come up with an excuse rather than trying to discuss anything. It's always your way or the highway. In that case, the highway will always win.

    As to telling people to fuck off if they don't like your terminology, you are guaranteeing your failure due to your childish and boorish behavior. Your repeated words are no different than bigots like Steve King and Donald Trump if we don't goosestep your way.

    Working together progress will happen. Driving wedges between allies doom you.

    What process? The process from taking an idea or ideal from inception to reality means you have to deal with non-true believers and convince other people. There are millions of people who will hear the term "abolition" and immediately believe you want "The Purge" to exist 24/7/365 and will stop listening immediately. You will lose them.

    You already have to overcome the "opposition" you face in places like TX, FL, NC, TN. Using the term "abolition", you'll lose millions more in places that would support you.

    Decades ago GM was shocked that they weren't selling many Novas in Central and South America in spite of it fitting the market so well. They learned very few would buy a car whose name means "Not going" in Spanish.

    Tens of millions of people will not be interested in supporting something called "abolition".

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by RJKarl View Post
    You need to get over your Pavlovian response to everything I post. Your obnoxious posts drive people away who basically support your desires. But you'll come up with an excuse rather than trying to discuss anything. It's always your way or the highway. In that case, the highway will always win.

    As to telling people to fuck off if they don't like your terminology, you are guaranteeing your failure due to your childish and boorish behavior. Your repeated words are no different than bigots like Steve King and Donald Trump if we don't goosestep your way.

    Working together progress will happen. Driving wedges between allies doom you.

    What process? The process from taking an idea or ideal from inception to reality means you have to deal with non-true believers and convince other people. There are millions of people who will hear the term "abolition" and immediately believe you want "The Purge" to exist 24/7/365 and will stop listening immediately. You will lose them.

    You already have to overcome the "opposition" you face in places like TX, FL, NC, TN. Using the term "abolition", you'll lose millions more in places that would support you.

    Decades ago GM was shocked that they weren't selling many Novas in Central and South America in spite of it fitting the market so well. They learned very few would buy a car whose name means "Not going" in Spanish.

    Tens of millions of people will not be interested in supporting something called "abolition".
    It is you sir that has the pavlovian response. You have no substantive arguments to anything I post, other than that you disagree with my use of the term "abolitionist." I'm going to call myself an abolitionist because its what I believe. If you don't agree with me, its not because of my use of the word. Its because you disagree with what I stand for. If you disagree with what abolitionists stand for, then thats fine, but stop fucking coming around telling me how much I agree with what you believe, and how its incumbent on me to compromise on my beliefs to agree to whichever shitty neoliberal stance you are taking each day.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by RChildress107 View Post
    Reformists believe the problem of mass incarceration is the “mass” part. “There are a bunch of people in our prisons who don’t belong there; let’s fix the system so those people aren’t incarcerated.”

    Abolitionists believe the problem with mass incarceration is the “incarceration” part. “Incarcerating people is bad. Period. Let’s fix the system so people aren’t incarcerated.”
    So abolitionists don’t live in the real world. Gotcha.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by DistrictDeacon View Post
    So abolitionists don’t live in the real world. Gotcha.
    This isn't fair, and I hope that you recognize that and would engage with a little more good faith.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by DistrictDeacon View Post
    So abolitionists don’t live in the real world. Gotcha.
    Is there any data about what % of the population supports "abolitionist" positions? I'm curious to know if it's a grain of sand on the beach like the DSA - or whether it's got real support behind it.

  17. #17
    Rusty Larue

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    Quote Originally Posted by DistrictDeacon View Post
    So abolitionists don’t live in the real world. Gotcha.
    Incarcerating people is bad. I agree that there might be certain situations where the alternatives to incarceration are worse, but that’s not the debate reformists are having.

    Abolishing prisons altogether (including for murderers) would cause less harm than the current prison industrial complex is causing. That will remain true even if fairly aggressive reforms are enacted. It seems silly to get hung up on the “what about murderers” question until that is no longer the case.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by MHBDemon View Post
    This isn't fair, and I hope that you recognize that and would engage with a little more good faith.
    Hard to engage in something that is a literal fantasy.

  19. #19
    Scooter Banks

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    Quote Originally Posted by DistrictDeacon View Post
    Hard to engage in something that is a literal fantasy.
    Obviously a noble goal and worth aiming for, in the same way that world peace is a noble goal worth aiming for. And the only way to achieve both of those things is with a blue genie.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by RJKarl View Post
    It's going to be much harder to get anything passed. Using the term "abolition" will harm the process. It's gives the opposition an easy target.
    Said John C. Calhoun circa mid-19th century

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