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How Politicians Are Using Faux Progressive Arguments to Lock Up Young People

Dean Spade, Sylvia Rivera Law Project’s founder and member of our collective, wrote In In These Times about the ways in which the justification for expanding the carceral state and perpetuation of systemic racism is couched in progressive language. The push for new jails in Seattle in the name of racial justice and prison reform reveals why it is important to use the framework of Prison Abolition.

Reforms that create “softer” punishment, diversion, or arrest-based programs—and are run by social workers and health providers—are being deployed by those focused on further investment in criminalizing infrastructure. Abolition is the framework that allows us to discern how progressive-sounding initiatives are actually expanding criminalization.


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