Free Them All: A Feminist Call to Abolish the Prison System

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    Gwenola Ricordeau

    Publisher: Verso

    Year: 2023

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 193 pages

    ISBN: 9781839762734

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An indispensable guide to the feminist case for prison abolition

How does the criminal justice system affect women’s lives? Do prisons keep women safe? Should feminists rely on policing and the law to achieve women’s liberation?

The mainstream feminist movement has proposed "locking up the bad men," and called on prisons, the legal system, and the state to protect women from misogynist violence. This carceral approach to feminism, activist and scholar Gwenola Ricordeau argues, does not make women safer: it harms women, including victims of violence, and in particular people of color, poor people, and LGBTQ people.

In this scintillating, comprehensive study, Ricordeau draws from two decades as an abolitionist activist and scholar of the penal justice system to describe how the criminal justice system hurts women. Considering the position of survivors of violence, criminalized women, and women with criminalized relatives, Ricordeau charts a new path to emancipation without incarceration.

With a new foreword by Silvia Federici.
Translated from the French by Tom Roberge and Emma Ramadan.

What People Are Saying

"With a new foreword by Silvia Federici, this volume makes a feminist case for the abolition of the prison system as we have known it. Ricordeau deftly explores the harms of incarceration and the path to a more just system for all." Karla Strand, Best Books of August 2023, Ms. Magazine

"Professor Ricordeau's analysis of the absurdities of the system and the sizable obstacles facing those determined to find meaningful solutions combines scholarly discipline with a powerful, emotional appeal for justice." Bill Littlefield, The Arts Fuse

"Do prisons ever really keep women safe? For a long time, mainstream feminism has been dominated by the view that bad men should simply be locked away. But, as activist and scholar Gwendola Ricordeau argues, this carceral approach has never made women safer: instead, it only makes society's most marginalized suffer. Here, she proposes a bolder, more radical vision." Dazed

"Gwenola Ricordeau's compelling new book, Free Them All, builds a contemporary case for the intersections between feminism and prison abolition, dismantling the notion that the criminalization of violence against women benefits or protects women. Ricordeau argues that our penal system protects no one, is driven by profit, and disproportionately harms victims of violence, poor people, people of color, and LGBTQ people…the translation work of Emma Ramadan and Tom Roberge is precise and lucid throughout." Rachel DeWoskin, LIBER

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