As a still growing abolitionist, it’s massively important for me to know exactly what I believe and why. Every conversation I have with a supporter of incarceration or reformist or not-yet abolitionist begins and ends with the question: “what would you do with all of the murderers and rapists?”—a question that’s both valid and far too broad. This inquiry is usually asked in good faith, however, abolition is not just about eliminating prison or jail complexes, but rather dismantling the entire systems of society, punishment, capitalism, colonization, racism, and militarism, all of which do not fit into a simple one sentence answer. For this reason, I lean heavily on many of my favorite criminal justice media resources I love that appear in both the traditional print/online forms and via podcast. The criminal legal media resources I use force me to confront my own internalized opinions and biases that I need to decolonize and demolish if I am to become a smarter and more empathetic abolitionist. Of course, these aren’t the only criminal legal system resources I love and use on a regular basis, but they are some of my favorites.
Twitter— It may seem stupid to throw a now almost defunct social media platform on this list, but the earlier days of Twitter, or rather the people I’ve connected with and befriended have truly impacted the way I see prisons, jails, and cops. It helps that most abolitionists and their work have been fairly easy to access on that devil platform before the apartheid baby ruined it.
Justice in America Podcast— Although there were many reasons to now avoid The Appeal (before their workers unionized and relaunched the site on their own), the Justice in America podcast taught me a lot about the legal system and how each contributing factor plays a part in its existence.
Transform Harm— Mariame Kaba’s online portal is one of the most important resource locations for abolitionists. The articles give concrete examples and answers for even those who just want to focus on the “murderers and rapists”.
Juvenile Injustice— I don’t know how anyone could scroll through this Instagram account and still believe that children should be incarcerated, no matter what they’ve done. Each picture and short personal anecdote hurts me every morning and night.
Micah Herskind’s Prison Abolition Resource Guide— Micah has collected and sorted quite possibly every book, article, and website any budding abolitionist would need within different genres. If there were a PIC abolition encyclopedia, it would start with Micah’s guide. His list is the most important of the resources I rely on!
Pamela Colloff anything— One of the premiere writers focusing on criminal legal injustices, Pamela Colloff’s portfolio on ProPublica is remarkable. Her articles have won countless awards and have even gotten men out of prison, making her hands down one of my favorite writers.