Why prison should be abolished

Nebraska legislators have advanced a bill (LB841) that aims to address the state’s prison overcrowding problem.

Nebraska prisons house approximately 5,300 inmates, when they were designed to hold just over 3,400 — 155-percent of capacity. Provisions of the bill include requiring the Department of Correctional Services to implement an accelerated release plan for inmates if the prison population isn’t reduced to 140-percent of capacity by July 1, 2020. (Read more about the legislation here.)

But is merely reducing the number of people in prison the appropriate goal?

In an interview with the Independent, Jasmine Ahmed with the group the Empty Cages Collective, advocates for transforming our criminal justice system away from the current carceral model.

With reoffending rates at stratospheric levels – and the vast majority of prisoners coming from disadvantaged backgrounds – it’s clear there are fundamental problems with our current criminal justice system. But does it have to be like this? In this installment of The Big Idea, Jasmine Ahmed insists prison is a demonstrably wrongheaded solution to distinctly social problems – and argues that only through transformative justice and community accountability can we prevent harm and reduce rates of violence.

Read the interview with Jasmine Ahmed at the Independent.

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