Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Abolition: Home

This guide explores what prison abolition is, an overview of the movement, and resources.

Abolition as Healing: Liberating our CommUNITY

Figure 1. Unity Week Poster, Evergreen Background

Poster Designed by Yoony Choi

Guide Purpose

This guide supports Highline College's 2021 Unity through Diversity Week theme, Abolition as Healing: Liberating our CommUNITY. This research guide provides resources for understanding, researching, teaching, advocating for, and practicing abolition in our contemporary moment. An international movement—from Chicago to Lagos to Palestine—this guide mainly focuses on abolition in the American context.

Included in this guide are links to abolitionist organizations, toolkits and study guides, journals and research databases, art and writing by incarcerated folks, community-based resources for alternatives to calling the police, and additional resources on campus and in the local area.


Beyond Prisons is a podcast that explores incarceration from an abolitionist perspective. We amplify the voices of people directly impacted by the system and seek to tell stories that push us to imagine and work toward a world without prisons. Launched in 2017 by Kim Wilson and Brian Sonenstein, Beyond Prisons is an educational and political resource for those new to abolition and those long engaged in movement work.

Abolition: definition


Prison industrial complex (PIC) abolition is 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 it is challenging to 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. Critical Resistance (2020)

"Abolition is about presence, not absence. It’s about building life-affirming institutions."
—Ruth Wilson Gilmore

The following is a short short film featuring prison abolitionist & professor, Dr. Ruth Wilson Gilmore, "Geographies of Racial Capitalism".

Ask a Librarian

Ask a Librarian!

We're here to help with library and research questions! 

Highline College librarians are available to help you via Chat and Email during the following hours during the campus closure:

Opening Week (9/20-9/26)
Monday & Wednesday: 10am-3pm & 4pm-6pm

Tuesday & Thursday: 10am-3pm

If you need help from a librarian when a Highline College Librarian isn't available, please use the 24/7 chat service.

Email us at

Mass Incarceration Library Guide

Additional Guides