Criminal Justice, Mass Incarceration & Modern Abolition

“When our ancestors tried to abolish slavery what they really got was reform. It is now our imperative to complete the call to abolish.” – Reverend Eddie Anderson

Just Mercy
by Bryan Stevenson
A powerful examination of the justice system in America told through Bryan Stevenson’s personal experiences.

The New Jim Crow
by Michelle Alexander
An honest and searing analysis of mass incarceration as one of the most daunting, systemic manifestations of racial oppression in America today.

Blue Rage, Black Redemption: A Memoir
by Stanley Tookie Williams
A gripping tale of personal revolution by a man who went from Crips co-founder to Nobel Peace Prize nominee, author, and antigang activist.

directed by Ava DuVernay
A powerful documentary interrogating the ways slavery as it was practiced in the United States transformed after the civil war. A searing reminder that slavery is still very much legal under the law.

Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police. Because reform won’t happen.
by Mariame Kaba
Op-Ed arguing for abolition over reform.

Baltimore tried reforming the police. They fought every change.
by Baynard Woods and Brandon Soderberg
Article examining the ineffectiveness of past attempts at police reform.

City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles, 1771-1965
by Kelly Lytle Hernández
A historical look into why Los Angeles has the highest rates of incarceration in the nation. Spanning from the Spanish colonial era to the city we know today.

Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California
by Ruth Wilson Gilmore
Despite a crime rate that has been falling steadily for decades, California has led the way in incarceration. Golden Gulag looks at how political and economic forces, ranging from global to local, conjoined to produce the prison boom.

Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform
by John F. Pfaff
An authoritative, clear-eyed account of a national catastrophe, Locked In transforms our understanding of what ails the American system of punishment and ultimately forces us to reconsider how we can build a more equitable and humane society.

Power Concedes Nothing: One Woman’s Quest for Social Justice in America, from the Courtroom to the Kill Zones
by Connie Rice
Dubbed by the Los Angeles Times as the “most experienced, civic-minded, and thoughtful people on the subject of Los Angeles.” Connie Rice’s memoir not only chronicles the life of a fiercely powerful woman dedicated to public service but takes a good look at issues of policing, gangs and violence in Los Angeles.

Before the Law
by Jennifer Gonnerman
“A boy was accused of taking a backpack. The courts took the next three years of his life.” Published 1 year before Kalief Browder succumbed to suicide.

Jay Z: For Father’s Day, I’m Taking On the Exploitative Bail Industry
by Shawn Carter
“On any given day over 400,000 people, convicted of no crime, are held in jail because they cannot afford to buy their freedom.” – Shawn Carter