Forthcoming Abolitionist Books

Coming Soon

Title (pre-order linked)AuthorDescriptionDate
Policing the Pandemic: How Public Health Becomes Public OrderLambros Fatsis and Melayna LambThe COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the inadequacies of the state’s response to public health and public order issues through deeply flawed legislation.
Written in the context of the #BlackLivesMatter protests, this book explores why law enforcement responses to a public health emergency are prioritised over welfare provision and what this tells us about the state’s criminal justice institutions.
Informing scholarly, civic and activist thinking on the political nature of policing, it reveals how increasing police powers disproportionately affects Black people and suggests alternative ways of designing public safety beyond a law enforcement context.
Stayed On Freedom: The Long History of Black Power through One Family’s JourneyDan BergerThe Black Power movement, often associated with its iconic spokesmen, derived much of its energy from the work of people whose stories have never been told. Stayed on Freedom brings into focus two unheralded Black Power activists who dedicated their lives to the fight for freedom.  

Zoharah Simmons and Michael Simmons fell in love while organizing tenants and workers in the South. Their commitment to each other and to social change took them on a decades-long journey that traversed first the country and then the world. In centering their lives, historian Dan Berger shows how Black Power united the local and the global across organizations and generations.  

Based on hundreds of hours of interviews, Stayed on Freedom is a moving and intimate portrait of two people trying to make a life while working to make a better world.  
Ms. Major Speaks: The Life and Legacy of a Black Trans RevolutionaryToshio Meronek and Miss Major Griffin-GracyA legendary transgender elder and activist reflects on a lifetime of struggle and the future of black, queer, and trans liberation

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy is a veteran of the infamous Stonewall Riots, a former sex worker, and a transgender elder and activist who has survived Bellevue psychiatric hospital, Attica Prison, the HIV/AIDS crisis and a world that white supremacy has built. She has shared tips with other sex workers in the nascent drag ball scene of the late 1960s, and helped found one of America’s first needle exchange clinics from the back of her van.

Miss Major Speaks is both document of her brilliant life–told with intimacy, warmth and an undeniable levity-and a roadmap for the challenges black, brown, queer and trans youth will face on the path to liberation today.

Her incredible story of a life lived and a world survived becomes a conduit for larger questions about the riddle of collective liberation. For a younger generation, she warns about the traps of ‘representation,’ the politics of ‘self-care,’ and the frequent dead-ends of non-profit organizing; for all of us, she is a strike against those who would erase these histories of struggle.

Miss Major offers something that cannot be found elsewhere: an affirmation that our vision for freedom can and must be more expansive than those on offer by mainstream institutions.
Imperfect Victims: Criminalized Survivors and the Promise of Abolition FeminismLeigh GoodmarkSince the 1970s, anti-violence advocates have worked to make the legal system more responsive to gender-based violence. But greater state intervention in cases of intimate partner violence, rape, sexual assault, and trafficking has led to the arrest, prosecution, conviction, and incarceration of victims, particularly women of color and trans and gender-nonconforming people. Imperfect Victims argues that only dismantling the system will bring that punishment to an end.

Amplifying the voices of survivors, including her own clients, abolitionist law professor Leigh Goodmark deftly guides readers on a step-by-step journey through the criminalization of survival. Abolition feminism reveals the possibility of a just world beyond the carceral state, which is fundamentally unable to respond to, let alone remedy, harm. As Imperfect Victims shows, abolition feminism is the only politics and practice that can unwind the indescribable damage inflicted on survivors by the very system purporting to protect them.
Healing Justice Lineages: Dreaming at the Crossroads of Liberation, Collective Care, and SafetyCara Page and Erica Woodland    In this anthology, Black queer feminist editors Cara Page and Erica Woodland guide readers through the history, legacies, and liberatory practices of healing justice–a political strategy of collective care that intervenes on generational trauma from systemic violence and oppression. Organized in three sections, Healing Justice Lineages recovers the ancestral medicines and practices that sustained communities under attack and oppression, while imagining, building, and calling into being what comes next.2/7/23
We Were Once a Family: A Story of Love, Death, and Child Removal in AmericaRoxanna AsgarianThe shocking, deeply reported story of a murder-suicide that claimed the lives of six children–and a searing indictment of the American foster care system.

On March 26, 2018, rescue workers discovered a crumpled SUV and the bodies of two women and several children at the bottom of a cliff beside the Pacific Coast Highway. Investigators soon concluded that the crash was a murder-suicide, but there was more to the story: Jennifer and Sarah Hart, it turned out, were a white married couple who had adopted the six Black children from two different Texas families in 2006 and 2008. Behind the family’s loving facade, however, was a pattern of abuse and neglect that went ignored as the couple withdrew the children from school and moved across the country. It soon became apparent that the State of Texas knew very little about the two individuals to whom it had given custody of six children–with fateful consequences.
In the manner of Adrian Nicole LeBlanc’s Random Family and other classic works of investigative journalism, Roxanna Asgarian’s We Were Once a Family is a revelation of vulnerable lives; it is also a shattering exposé of the foster care and adoption systems that produced this tragedy. As a journalist in Houston, Asgarian became the first reporter to put the children’s birth families at the center of the story. We follow the author as she runs up against the intransigence of a state agency that removes tens of thousands of kids from homes each year in the name of child welfare, while often failing to consider alternatives. Her reporting uncovers persistent racial biases and corruption as children of color are separated from birth parents without proper cause. The result is a riveting narrative and a deeply reported indictment of a system that continues to fail America’s most vulnerable children while upending the lives of their families.
Change Everything: Racial Capitalism & the Case for AbolitionRuth Wilson GilmoreRacial, gender, and environmental justice. Class war. Militarism. Interpersonal violence. Old age security. This is not the vocabulary many use to critique the prison-industrial complex.

But in this series of powerful lectures, Ruth Wilson Gilmore shows that the only way to dismantle systems and logics of control and punishment is to change questions, categories, and campaigns from the ground up.

Abolitionism doesn’t just say no to police, prisons, border control, and the current punishment system. It requires persistent organizing for what we need, organizing that ‘s already present in the efforts people cobble together to achieve access to schools, health care and housing, art and meaningful work, and freedom from violence and want.

As Gilmore makes plain, Abolition requires that we change one thing: everything.
Let This Radicalize You: Organizing and the Revolution of Reciprocal CareKelly Hayes and Mariame KabaLongtime organizers and movement educators Mariame Kaba and Kelly Hayes examine some of the political lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the convergence of mass protest and mass formations of mutual aid, and consider what this confluence of power can teach us about a future that will require mass acts of care, rescue and defense, in the face of both state violence and environmental disaster.

The book is an assemblage of co-authored reflections, interviews and questions that are intended to aid and empower activists and organizers as they attempt to map their own journeys through the work of justice-making. It includes insights from a spectrum of experienced organizers, including Sharon Lungo, Carlos Saavedra, Ejeris Dixon, Barbara Ransby, and Ruth Wilson Gilmore about some of the difficult and joyous lessons they have learned in their work.
New Bones Abolition: Captive Maternal Agency and the Afterlive of Erica GarnerJoy JamesJoy James spent a year in which she addressed the legacy of Erica Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner. From this she offers us a new framework for inspired abolitionist organizing and risk-taking today, one that situates the everyday and ordinary acts of revolutionary love and caretaking at the radical root of resistance to anti-Blackness. New Bones addresses “those of us broken enough to grow new bones” about the new traditions we inherit and renew in the struggle for freedom. James introduces us to a powerful figure in these struggles, the “captive maternal,” who emerge from communities devastated by or disappeared within the legacy of colonialism and chattel slavery, and who sustain resistance and rebellion toward the horizon of collective liberation. 

She recognizes a long line of such freedom fighters, women and men alike, who transform from coerced or conflicted caretakers within a racial order to builders of movements and maroon spaces, and ultimately into war resisters mobilized against genocide and state violence. From Mamie Till-Mobley, the mother of Emmit Till, to the incarcerated at Attica prison in 1971, to Erica Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner, the captive maternal is rarely celebrated in the annals of abolition but are essential to its work.
May 2023
Practicing New Worlds: Abolition and Emergent StrategyAndrea RitchiePracticing New Worlds explores how principles of emergence, adaptation, iteration, resilience, transformation, interdependence, decentralization and fractalization can shape organizing toward a world without the violence of surveillance, police, prisons, jails, or cages of any kind, in which we collectively have everything we need to survive and thrive.
Drawing on decades of experience as an abolitionist organizer, policy advocate, and litigator in movements for racial, gender, economic, and environmental justice and the principles articulated by adrienne maree brown in Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds, Ritchie invites us to think beyond traditional legislative and policy change to create more possibilities for survival and resistance in the midst of the ongoing catastrophes of racial capitalism—and the cataclysms to come. Rooted in analysis of current abolitionist practices and interviews with on-the-ground organizers resisting state violence, building networks to support people in need of abortion care, and nurturing organizations and convergences that can grow transformative cities and movements, Practicing New Worlds takes readers on a journey of learning, unlearning, experimentation, and imagination to dream the worlds we long for into being.
Free Them All: A Feminist Call to Abolish the Prison SystemGwenola RicordeauHow does the criminal justice system affect women’s lives? Do prisons keep women safe? Should feminists rely on policing and the law to achieve women’s liberation?

The mainstream feminist movement has proposed “locking up the bad men,” and called on prisons, the legal system, and the state to protect women from misogynist violence. This carceral approach to feminism, activist and scholar Gwenola Ricordeau argues, does not make women safer: it harms women, including victims of violence, and in particular people of color, poor people, and LGBTQ people.

In this scintillating, comprehensive study, Ricordeau draws from two decades as an abolitionist activist and scholar of the penal justice system to describe how the criminal justice system hurts women. Considering the position of survivors of violence, criminalized women, and women with criminalized relatives, Ricordeau charts a new path to emancipation without incarceration.
Radical Acts of Justice: How Ordinary People are Dismantling Mass IncarcerationJocelyn SimonsonAn original argument that the answer to criminal justice reform lies not with experts and pundits, but with ordinary people taking extraordinary actions together–written by a leading authority on bail reform and social movements

From reading books on mass incarceration, one might conclude that the way out of our overly punitive, racially disparate criminal system is to put things in the hands of experts, technocrats able to think their way out of the problem. But, as Jocelyn Simonson points out in her groundbreaking new book, the problems posed by the American carceral state do not present just technical puzzles; they present profound moral questions for our time.

Radical Acts of Justice tells the stories of ordinary people joining together in collective acts of resistance: paying bail for a stranger, using social media to let the public know what everyday courtroom proceedings are like, making a video about someone’s life for a criminal court judge, presenting a budget proposal to the city council. When people join together to contest received ideas of justice and safety, they challenge the ideas that prosecutions and prisons make us safer; that public officials charged with maintaining “law and order” are carrying out the will of the people; and that justice requires putting people in cages. Through collective action, these groups live out new and more radical ideas of what justice can look like.

In a book that will be essential reading for those who believe our current systems of policing, criminal law, and prisons are untenable, Jocelyn Simonson shows how to shift power away from the elite actors at the front of the courtroom and toward the swelling collective in the back.
How to Abolish Prisons: Lessons from the Movement Against ImprisonmentRachel Herzing and Justin PichéIn the 1960s and 1970s, groups like the U.S. Prison Research Education Action Project and the Norwegian Association for Penal Reform advocated for a world without prisons. Instead, incarceration boomed, growing in the United States from about 200,000 prisoners to an unprecedented 2 million and more. Now, a movement to abolish prisons has returned, with grassroots movements and critical research converging on an uncompromising critique of the regime of mass incarceration.

This book provides a trenchant guide to prison abolition, explaining why the solution to the criminal justice crisis is ending policing, imprisonment, and mass surveillance, and building a society that creates alternatives to punishment and carceral solutions to social contradictions. The book details and evaluates abolitionist projects throughout North America that provide alternative models, and reveals what it means to work for abolition today, explores ways to ‘de-carceralize’ society.

Recently Released

Shoot to Kill: Police and Power in South AfricaChristopher Michael
This is My Jail: Local Politics and the Rise of Mass IncarcerationMelanie Newport
Detention Empire: Reagan’s War on Immigrants and the Seeds of ResistanceKristina Shull
Abolition RevolutionAviah Sarah Day and Shanice Octavia McBean
Abolitionist IntimaciesEl Jones
Health Communism: A Surplus ManifestoBeatrice Adler-Bolton and Artie Vierkant
Viral Justice: How We Grow the World We WantRuha Benjamin
Colonial Racial CapitalismSusan Koshy, Lisa Marie Cacho, Jodi Byrd, Brian Jordan Jefferson (editors)
Saving Our Own Lives: A Liberatory Practice of Harm ReductionShira Hassan
No More Police: A Case for AbolitionMariame Kaba and Andrea Ritchie
Against Borders: The Case for AbolitionGracie Mae Bradley and Luke De Noronha
The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease CollideSteven Thrasher
Abolition Feminisms: Organizing, Survival, and Transformative practiceAlisa Bierria, Jakeya Caruthers, and Brooke Lober (editors)
Abolishing State Violence: A World Beyond Bombs, Borders, and CagesRay Acheson
Captives: How Rikers Island Took New York City HostageJarrod Shanahanorder
America, Goddam: Violence, Black Women, and the Struggle for JusticeTreva B. Lindseyorder
Nobody Is Protected: How the Border Patrol Became the Most Dangerous Police Force in the United StatesReece Jonesorder
Rehearsals for Living: Conversations on Abolition and Anti-ColonialismRobyn Maynard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpsonorder
Abortion to Abolition: Reproductive Health and Justice in CanadaMartha Paynterorder
The Women’s House of Detention: A Queer History of a Forgotten PrisonHugh Ryanorder
Abolition Geography: Essays Toward LiberationRuth Wilson Gilmoreorder
Uniform Feelings: Scenes from the Psychic Life of PolicingJessi Lee Jacksonorder
Elite Capture: How the Powerful Took Over Identity Politics (And Everything Else)Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwòorder
Coal, Cages, Crisis: The Rise of the Prison Economy in Central AppalachiaJudah Scheptorder
Torn Apart: How the Child Welfare System Destroys Black Families–and How Abolition Can Build a Safer WorldDorothy Robertsorder
Defund, Disarm, Dismantle: Police Abolition in CanadaShiri Pasternak, Kevin Walby and Abby Stadnyk (editors)order
Assata Taught Me: State Violence, Racial Capitalism, and the Movement for Black LivesDonna Murchorder
Not A Lot of Reasons to Sing, But EnoughKyle Tran Myhreorder
#SayHerName: Black Women’s Stories of State Violence and Public SilenceKimberlé Crenshaw (editor)order
Love and Abolition: The Social Life of Black Queer PerformanceAlison Rose Reedorder
How We Stay Free: Notes on a Black UprisingChristopher Rogers, Fajr Muhammad, and the Paul Robeson House and Museum (editors)order
Abolition. Feminism. Now.Angela Davis, Gina Dent, Erica Meiners, and Beth Richieorder
Understanding E-Carceration: Electronic Monitoring, The Surveillance State, and the Future of Mass IncarcerationJames Kilgoreorder
Creative Interventions Toolkit: A Practical Guide to Stop Interpersonal ViolenceCreative Interventions (editor)order
The Nation on No Map: Black Anarchism and AbolitionWilliam C. Andersonorder
Brick by Brick: How We Build a World Without PrisonsCradle Communityorder
Insurgent Love: Abolition and Domestic HomicideArdath Whynachtorder
Abolition for the People: The Movement for a Future Without Policing and PrisonsColin Kaepernick (editor)order
Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of FreedomDerecka Purnell
Lessons in Liberation: An Abolitionist Educator’s ToolkitCritical Resistance Abolitionist Educators Workgrouporder
Violent Order: Essays on the Nature of PoliceDavid Correia and Tyler Wall (editors)order
Collage of book covers including: Becoming Abolitionists by Derecka Purnell, Abolition Feminism Now by Davis, Dent, Meiners, and Richie, Lessons in Liberation by the Critical Resistance Educators’ Collective, We Do This ‘Til We Free Us by Mariame Kaba, Prisons Make Us Safer by Victoria Law, Prison By Any Other Name by Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Border and Rule by Harsha Walia, Change Everything by Ruth Wilson Gilmore, How to Abolish Prisons by Rachel Herzing and Justin Piche, A World Without Police by Geo Maher, and Brick by Brick by the Cradle Community.

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