Anti-Prison People’s Movement Assembly
Thursday, June 24th, 2010
US Social Forum 2010, Detroit, MI
The problem: The United States is a prison empire, founded on the legacy of slavery, which uses racist mass incarceration, widespread criminalization, torture and the targeting of political dissidents to try to solve its fundamental economic and social problems. It locks up more people than any other country on the planet. The prison system is a central node in an apparatus of state repression; it threatens our communities and weakens our resistance and movements for justice. Repression is a tool used to maintain state power, and the prison population represents the most oppressed sectors of society: people of color, the poor, First Nations communities, immigrant communities, working class women, queer and transgender people, and organizers from many communities.
Because we share a vision of justice and solidarity against confinement, control, and all forms of political repression, the prison industrial complex must be abolished. We envision a movement and a society free of racism, Islamophobia, sexism and homophobia.
The work to dismantle the prison industrial complex and build stronger communities includes:
• Supporting the efforts of diverse anti-prison organizations as part of a shared movement against repression in all its forms, including political, racial, gender, sexual, economic, disability and age, legal status, HIV status, national origin, immigration status, and alleged gang affiliation;
• Fighting for the full civil and human rights of currently and formerly incarcerated people and affirming the rights of currently and formerly incarcerated people to speak in their own voice on all matters pertinent to their existence and well-being;
• Eliminating the stigma that inhibits currently and formerly incarcerated people and their loved ones from speaking out;
• Supporting leadership and leadership development of currently and formerly incarcerated people, and ending all forms of discrimination based on legal status for formerly incarcerated people;
• Organizing for the immediate release of all political prisoners and prisoners of war from grand juries, jail, detention, trial or prison;
• Demanding the immediate end to the death penalty, life without parole, solitary confinement, mandatory minimums, the incarceration of youth in adult facilities, behavior modification/communication management units, all forms of torture, the war on drugs and the criminalization of youth, immigrants and gender nonconforming people;
• Promoting physical, mental and emotional health and healing inside and outside of prisons, including humane models of and access to health care and substance abuse treatment that do not expand the prison industrial complex;
• Opposing all new jails, prisons, juvenile or immigrant detention facilities and supporting methods to immediately reduce the current prison population, including sentencing and parole reform, and eliminating prisons for profit;
• Challenging the institutions that prop up the prison, including the police, military, ICE, governmental legislatures, and other forms of colonial rule;
• Creating community-based models of restorative and transformative justice in the present. Working for a world where violence and captivity are taboo, and where communities are capable of responding to harm in ways that support the self-determination and dignity of all people.
To realize these visions and goals, we commit ourselves to the following actions. We ask participants at the 2010 US Social Forum to consider participating in or endorsing these actions in solidarity:
• We resolve to hold coordinated local days of action for Juvenile Justice during the week of December 6, 2010; against the prison industrial complex on International Human Rights Day on December 10, 2010; and in solidarity with other movements and days of action against criminalization and confinement;
• We resolve to support the call by groups led by formerly incarcerated people to hold a national strategy session, led by and for formerly incarcerated people, within two years;
• We resolve to support reunification of families torn apart by the prison industrial complex, including by supporting the full repeal of the federal Adoption & Safe Families Act;
• We call for a paradigm shift in language, so that our language reflects our objectives for full human and civil rights for all people. Specifically, we commit ourselves, and ask that people and organizations do the same, to not refer to people with convictions as “offenders” or “ex-offenders,” but rather as “formerly incarcerated people.” We reject the logic of abandonment that distinguishes between “violent” and “nonviolent” people, and we call on organizations to struggle for all people regardless of the nature of their crime;
• We commit to supporting economic development opportunities for people before and after incarceration, and sustainable alternatives for communities that currently depend on prisons for their sustenance;
• We call on organizations in all social movements to review their hiring process, bylaws, and internal culture to determine if there are any barriers to full employment or inclusion of people with convictions;
• We commit ourselves to developing communication tools that allow us to share victories, strategies, lessons and stories, and ask allied movements to support this process;
• We ask that this Resolution from the Anti-Prison PMA be submitted to the World Social Forum in Dakar as part of a desire to engage in international dialogue about ending the global prison industrial complex.
We call on others in the United States, and around the world, to join us in these actions to advance our shared visions. Another World is Possible, Another U.S. is Necessary!