Voices of Justice Now: Prisons are bad for everyone.

Jeremy Bearer-Friend is a Visiting Fellow at Justice Now and a Leadership Academy Fellow with Young People for the American Way. An educator at heart, Jeremy has taught within public schools, private schools, home schools, after-school programs, museums, colleges and prisons.
Prisons are bad for everyone–not just for the people in cages within them, not just for the children who have lost their parents to them, or the social programs who have their budgets cut because of them.
Prisons distract us from the root causes of violence and ultimately exacerbate the deeply entrenched challenges of racism, sexism and transphobia facing our communities.
Over this past week, Justice Now posted on how prisons operate as a form of population control and gender oppression. In response to this rise of mass incarceration and the disturbing trend of “gender responsive� prison expansion, we have developed the following platform for gender justice:
1. Reduce imprisonment: Decarcerate by reducing the number of people in prison and closing prisons.
2. Support communities, not prisons: Strengthen families and communities by reducing barriers to family reunification and allocating resources towards community-run infrastructure.
3. Foster non-harmful responses to violence: Participate in critical dialogues and movement building to increase our communities’ and networks’ capacities to end all forms of violence.
We challenge you to reconsider the assumption that prisons make us safer, and invite you to consider new ways to address the root causes of violence. Together, we will work to imagine a world without prisons.

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