RedBird Prison Abolition
PO BOX 1291
PO BOX 1291
Columbus, OH 43216
Historically, and in the context of the United States, the word "abolish" has been attached to movements to liberate African-Americans from slavery. The term "abolitionists" often carries the meaning of those who wish to abolish slavery; to completely destroy the institution of slavery, and to fully liberate those who are enslaved.
RedBird Prison Abolition self-identifies as a prison abolitionist group in keeping with this history of liberation, and in our desire to completely destroy the institution of prisons and jailing. We propose and support putting fewer people into prisons, getting people out of prison and developing alternative approaches to justice while dealing with social problems. We also support efforts to reduce the many harms prisoners face and maximize what freedoms they do possess while imprisoned.
The contemporary prison system in the United States acts in a way that mirrors slavery, where folks in prison are uncompensated for their labor or paid pennies a day. Prison populations are largely composed of people of color, and African-Americans are disproportionately imprisoned compared to other racial groups. In this fashion, the prison abolition movement is a continuation of the movement to abolish slavery.
Prisons today are increasingly privatized, and thus are run as corporations bent on making profit. In this way, neo-slavery inside prisons is directly connected and foundational for supporting neo-liberal capitalism. As prisons benefit from the labor of people of color, the prison system is also dependent on maintaining a criminal justice system that is white supremacist in nature.
Prisons are also a key component of the broader war on poor people and marginalized people in general. Instead of dealing directly with social problems and conflicts, our society sends “criminals” away, often far from their homes and even from the site of their arrest or other encounter with law enforcement. Queer people, transgender people, and other people deviating from social norms face severe risks and dangers while imprisoned. The american social order increasingly depends on putting people in prison, leading to the highest incarceration rate in the world and brutal treatment of huge segments of the population. Abolishing the prison system is a priority if we want collective liberation of any kind.
Who we are:
We all came to prison abolition for different reasons, but are bound together by the belief that prison is intricately connected to our lives and the forces that oppress us. The prison system is a threat to our neighborhoods, our families, and our friends. Each of our approaches to resistance is unique, and includes everything from transgender issues to political prisoners to educational outreach to letter writing to theatre.
We like to do things that prisoners find valuable, but also things that we are drawn to. That means new comers are always welcome, and we value diverse ideas and approaches to organizing.