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Our Story

About

We are abolitionists.

 

We oppose and abhor all forms of human slavery and trafficking. We understand that the Thirteenth Amendment did not abolish slavery. Instead it redefined it and carved out an exception for its continued existence. Today mass incarceration through the prison industrial complex (PIC), facilitated by militarized policing and an adversarial court system, is the modern embodiment of carceral slavery

Our work is to destroy these systems and replace them with a society that is healthy, just and equitable.

Mission

At AbolitionWorksTN, we consider ourselves true abolitionists focused on dismantling all systems based on punishment and incarceration and replacing them with institutions and systems based on care and equity. 

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Vision

We envision a society that prioritizes the health and well-being of every person in that society.

We recognize that it may be necessary to separate those whose immediate actions have resulted in harm to another. Social separation has its place. 

 

However, successful social separation should be as brief as possible with the ultimate goal to restore the individual to their community and, through a process of restorative justice, provide restitution directly to the people they have harmed. 

 

A retributive system of criminal justice is contrary to the common good and ensures the continued existence of slavery and systematic and institutional racism.

The lessons of history and the clear evidence of what is currently happening in our communities leads us to the logical and damning conclusion that the United States intentionally maintains a system of slavery in the interest of profit and the disenfranchisement of Black and Brown communities and the poor.

 

The policies and procedures of state prison systems are intentionally obscure and contradictory. Once inside the system, individuals have almost no public voice and virtually no control over their lives. Families of prisoners also have minimal control over the often arbitrary and retributive decisions visited upon the mind and body of a loved one. Like chattel enslavement of the past, families are destroyed and decisions to ship those who are carcerally enslaved  are made with no consideration to the broader and long-term impact to the community. When humans are warehoused with no chance for restoration to their community, and are of more economic value locked down than free, that is slavery.

We recognize that when slavery, and the violence associated with its maintenance, is allowed to continue as an "appropriate" response to societal ills, the standard of punishment and incarceration becomes the basis upon which ALL of our public institutions are based, including our systems of care. The result is that all of our public systems replicate the dynamics of prison. Care and resources are tightly held and only given to those who are deemed worthy. Those considered unworthy are subjected to various forms of incarceration and social control and denied the resources they need to survive. This is antithetical to the democratic ideals to which we aspire.

The only moral response to slavery is abolition.

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