Prison Scholar and Activist Ruth Wilson Gilmore on the Case for Abolition

52 min
at 10:00 AM
A California Department of Corrections officer looks on as inmates at Chino State Prison exercise in the yard. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)

Is prison necessary? That’s a central question in the work of longtime prison abolitionist and well-known prison scholar, Ruth Wilson Gilmore. A co-founder of activist organization Critical Resistance, Gilmore’s seminal book “Golden Gulag” analyzed California’s role in propelling both the prison building boom and tough-on-crime sentencing in the U.S. Today, criminal justice reform is under a brighter spotlight, as calls to defund the police have increased and as jails and prisons became hotspots for COVID-19 with effects rippling through surrounding communities. Gilmore joins us to share her thoughts on the movement to defund police and the case for abolishing prisons.

Guests:

Ruth Wilson Gilmore, professor of geography and associate director of the Center for Place, Culture and Politics, CUNY Graduate Center; co-founder, Critical Resistance; author, "Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California"

Ashara Ekundayo, artist and cultural strategist; curator, "Imagine Freedom: Art Works for Abolition"

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