Abolitionist Principles for Prosecutor Organizing: Origins and Next Steps


The authors of this article are inter-generational abolitionist organizers. We are not experts because of our institutional affiliations or graduate degrees, and you likely do not know all of our names; we are each active members of horizontal movements in U.S. cities—New York, Boston, Chicago—where we have joined with others to demand the elimination of policing, prosecution, punishment, and incarceration and investments instead in healing, housing, healthcare, education, employment, and what people need to be safe, live well, and engage in community-led processes to redress harm. As abolitionist organizers, we understand PIC abolition as a long-term vision of a restructured society and as a practical organizing strategy. Within the last six years, each of us has worked on campaigns in our cities and states demanding that prosecutors wield their discretion to do less—fewer prosecutions, fewer charges, fewer convictions, less incarceration, smaller budgets—on the road to doing nothing: an end to prosecution altogether. An abolitionist organizing strategy reduces the reach of the PIC; it shrinks the power, size, and scope of the prosecuting office without increasing its legitimacy.


Stanford University Stanford, California
  • Rachel Foran, Mariame Kaba, Katy Naples-Mitchell, Abolitionist Principles for Prosecutor Organizing: Origins and Next Steps, 16 Stan. J. C.R. & C.L. 496 (2021).