The prison abolition and police abolition movements are two separate, but connected movements seeking radical change. In general, they can be seen as contrasting with movements for reform in the criminal justice system, prisons, mass incarceration, and policing. The resources below will hopefully shed some light on these movements and explain their aims & the motives behind them.
Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police - (Opinion) New York Times
By Mariame Kaba
Opinion piece by the activist and organizer Mariama Kaba, who has been a leading voice on police and prison abolition for years. This piece argues that policing cannot be reformed and must be dismantled, to make way for a new approach to public safety. From the piece, "When people, especially white people, consider a world without the police, they envision a society as violent as our current one, merely without law enforcement -- and they shudder. As a society, we have been so indoctrinated with the idea that we solve problems by policing and caging people that many cannot imagine anything other than prisons and the police as solutions to violence and harm. People like me who want to abolish prisons and police, however, have a vision of a different society, built on cooperation instead of individualism, on mutual aid instead of self-preservation."
Intended to serve as a "resource from people to build from and incorporate abolitionist demands into local organizing efforts," #8toAbolish was originally written as a direct response to the reform plan #8CantWait. "The end goal of these reforms is not to create better, friendlier, or more community-oriented police or prisons. Instead, we hope to build toward a society without police or prisons, where communities are equipped to provide for their safety and wellbeing."
Angela Davis: Abolishing police is not just about dismantling. It's about building up. - (Democracy Now)
Interview with Angela Davis, activist, scholar, and leading voice on abolition, on Democracy Now on the abolition movement. Excerpt: "Abolition is not primarily a negative strategy. It's not primarily about dismantling, getting rid of — but it's about re-envisioning, building anew. And I would argue abolition is a feminist strategy, and one sees in these abolitionist demands that are emerging the pivotal feminist theories and practices."
How Defund and Disband Became the Demands - New York Review of Books
By Amna A. Akbar
Excerpt: "Although calls for defunding and dissolution, rather than reform, may feel new to many, abolitionist organizing against the “prison industrial complex”—which includes prisons, police, and surveillance—goes back more than two decades. There is no delusion among abolitionists that we will ever live in a world without conflict or interpersonal violence. Right now our go-to response to all manner of social, political, and economic conflict—whether it is homelessness, domestic violence, migration—is prisons and police. The abolitionist invitation is to investigate these problems with care and particularity, and collectively craft responses that do not rely on violence and punishment."
The “abolish the police” movement, explained by 7 scholars and activists - Vox
The slogan "abolish the police" has emerged as a popular one, despite some disagreement over what, exactly, is meant by this and how it could be accomplished. Compiles interviews with seven scholars and activists explaining what they mean by "abolish the police."