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How do I explain to my friend that prisons should be abolished?

+4 votes
The child of one of my friends was recently kidnapped, raped, and murdered by a man now in police custody. My friend doesn't necessarily want the perp dead, but does want the perp to rot in a cell. I'm at a compete loss at how to come at this situation from an anarchist perspective and it's causing me to doubt a bit about my beliefsā€”not necessarily a bad thing but I really want to find some kind of answer to this. Though I don't plan on bringing it up with my friend, I want to know anarchist solutions to this kind of ordeal.
asked Feb 17, 2013 by anonymous

1 Answer

+1 vote
first off, your title and the explanation seem entirely different from each other to me. and to the title (with or without the explanation you give) i would mostly say, you don't explain such a thing. you could have conversations with friends about the problems of prisons, how they were started, how they are mostly used, how the fairly infrequent crime that happens (like the one you describe) is used to justify a much huger percentage of victimless, economic, etc criminals being incarcerated and used as slave (or virtually slave) labor, how prisoners and prison labor are an integral component in capitalism at this point, etc. (but as you allude, part of the point of such conversations is that they can be context-sensitive.)

to respond to your final question, what kind of solution (if that word applies) there is would depend on what you think the cause of crime is. is it broken systems and social ties that break people? is it inadequate responses to mental issues that people have? there are many different opinions, all of them held by anarchists of various sorts. if you have an opinion on what causes this kind of action, then you could give it and people could discuss how anarchists would (or wouldn't) enact it in a different world.
answered Feb 17, 2013 by dot (57,750 points)