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No 1 (2018): Abolishing Carceral Society, 211-214

Lessons on Abolition from Inside Women’s Prisons

December 1, 2018


We learn early on in women’s prisons that involving the policeor prison officers to resolve conflicts won’t make the situation any better. My friend and fellow abolitionist Hakim Anderson recently expressed, “We don’t go to the cops most often in here. So what we try to do is resolve it in a way where really and truly the cops won’t have to get involved. I think that the same thing can happen outside of prison.” Looking at the outcome of involving officers explains why we choose to avoid any police involvement: it makes things far worse. We often find that someone is wrongfully accused, abused, or victimized by the people that are supposed to be there to bring the peace. Their presence creates a hostile/dangerous environment for the person who contacted them for resolution. Their goal is not to seek peace. That is not what the prison environment is designed for.

Author Biography

Mianta McKnight knows first-hand what the prison system is like, as someone tried as an adult as a juvenile. She served eighteen years and one day, growing up within the prison industrial complex. Mianta had just turned seventeen years old when she was arrested in 1995. As Justice Now’s Director of Community Engagement, she is the most recent directly impacted person to transition from fellow to codirector. She is dedicated to challenging the inhumane conditions in women’s prisons and being the voice for those unable to speak for themselves. She is a professional dancer and shares her gift of dance with the world, performing by using dance as a form of therapy and expression. Mianta is also striving to bring holistic health and massage to the social justice world and to the people coming home from women’s prisons. The benefits of massage help empower others to embrace a holistic way of living, while healing the trauma of incarceration and its effects.