‘Abolition requires that we change one thing, everything’ – Ruth Wilson Gilmore.
Why is it so hard to imagine a world without prisons or other forms of punishment? What if we didn’t automatically phone 999 when faced with harm, conflict, or a stranger in distress? As Ruth Wilson Gilmore suggests, visualising and working for the abolition of prisons and/or punishment, requires us to imagine new ways of living together and of responding to conflict and harm. In creative writing terms, this is an act of ‘world building’ that hopes to have real world consequences.
This is the website for Prison Break: Imagining Alternatives to Prison in the UK, a research project that uses creative writing workshops to support UK-based people involved in prison abolition and transformative justice to create speculative fiction (i.e. work in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, horror), that can help imagine and enact a more just future. This project is led by Phil Crockett Thomas and funded by an Independent Scholar Fellowship from the ISRF (2021-2022).
Abolition Science Fiction is a new, free collection of sci fi short stories written by activists and scholars involved in prison abolition and transformative justice in the UK. Alongside the stories are extracts from discussions from the workshops where we wrote and shared the stories. There are also creative writing exercises and discussion prompts, included to help readers explore ideas about abolition and transformative justice in creative ways. The book is aimed both at those curious about abolition and at seasoned activists who want to explore abolition through creative writing. The book is free to download below or to request a free print copy get in touch at abolitionscifi [at] gmail [dot] com.