Contesting Carceral Logic : Towards Abolitionist Futures book cover
1st Edition

Contesting Carceral Logic
Towards Abolitionist Futures

ISBN 9780367751326
Published August 13, 2021 by Routledge
236 Pages

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $49.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Contesting Carceral Logic provides an innovative and cutting-edge analysis of how carceral logic is embedded within contemporary society, emphasizing international perspectives, the harms and critiques of using carceral logic to respond to human wrongdoing, and exploring penal abolition thought.

With chapters from scholars across many disciplines, people in prison, as well as penal abolition activists, the book explores what a future without carceral logic would look like, as well as how such a future is to be developed. The book is also an exploration of penal abolition thought as it is developing in the twenty-first century. Diverse geographical, cultural, identity and experiential frames inform the book’s themes of analysing carceral logic as it harms disparate people in disparate places, creating anti-carceral knowledge, exploring case studies pointing to radical alternatives, and to contesting carceral logic from below. Ultimately, Contesting Carceral Logic provides the reader with an alternative and critical perspective from which to reflect on carceral logic, the punitive state and the criminalizing systems that almost exclusively dominate across the world. Finally, it raises the questions of how we are to build communities as well as transform our response to human wrongdoing in ways that are not defined by racism/ethnocentrism, class war and heteropatriarchy.

Contesting Carceral Logic will be of great interest to not only scholars and activists, but also provides an introduction to key carceral issues and debates for students of penology, criminology, social policy, geography, politics, philosophy, social work and social history programmes in countries all around the world.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Penal Abolitionism as a Challenge to Carceral Logic

Michael J. Coyle and Mechthild Nagel

PART 1: The Harms of Carceral Logic: People and Places

1 Prison Provokes People into Being More Aggressive, Hyper Sexualized and Prone to Crime

Joseph (Dont’e) Williams

2 If I Weren’t White I’d Be Dead


3 Reader

Emanuel Eoz

4 Carceral Other and Severing of People, Place and Land: Redefining the Politics of Abolition through an Anti-Colonial Framework

Vicki Chartrand and Niko Rougier

5 The Lawlessness of Law: Outlaw Nation, Settler Colonialism, and a Possessive Investment in Whiteness

Mechthild Nagel

6 Not Behind Bars: The Rippling of Carceral Habitus and Corrective Violence on the Family and Community Life of Prison Guards

S.M. Rodriguez and Brittany Clark

PART 2: Creating Anti-Carceral Knowledge

7 Start

Emanuel Eoz

8 The Only Advice I Got is ‘Stay Out of Trouble’

David Head

9 Designed to Bury You in a Mental Grave

Adrian Outten

10 The Courtroom

Philip Johnson

11 Generating Abolitionist Affect: Decarceral Feminist Methodologies and the Closure of Holloway Prison

Carly Guest and Rachel Seoighe

12 ‘There is no Justice, There is Just Us!’ Towards a Postcolonial Feminist Critique of Policing Using the Example of Racial Profiling in Europe

Vanessa E. Thompson

13 Humanism and Penal Justice: A Foucauldian Critique

Clécio Lemos

PART 3: Case Studies Pointing to Radical Alternatives

14 Feet on the Ground

Emanuel Eoz

15 The System is Designed for Me to Fail

Douglas Knakmuhs

16 Incarceration as the Worst Possible Treatment for Mental Illness

Richard Sean Gross

17 The Rhetoric of Dehumanization: Japanese American Concentration Camps and the US Criminalizing System

Michael J. Coyle and Stephen T. Young

18 RAP’s Significance to the Formation of the British Abolitionist Movement

Marc Jacobs

19 The Struggle Over the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre: Challenging Neutralization Techniques, Fighting State Inertia

Aaron Doyle, Justin Piché, and Kelsey Sutton


PART 4: Resisting Carceral Logic


20 Something From Here

Emanuel Eoz

21 Disenthrall

Jamine Emmanual Felton

22 Contesting the Collateral Damages of Imprisonment from Below

Valeria Vegh Weis and Julieta Sosa

23 Land, Race and State: Situating the Carceral State and the Mass Imprisonment of Māori in Aotearoa within the Settler-Colonial Landscape

Verena Tan

24 Extreme Hazards
Emanuel Eoz




View More



Michael J. Coyle, PhD is Professor, Department of Political Science and "Criminal" Justice, California State University, Chico. He is the author of Talking Criminal Justice: Language and the Just Society (Routledge 2013) and the forthcoming Seeing Crime: Penal Abolition as the End of Utopian Criminal Justice (University of California Press).

Mechthild Nagel teaches philosophy and Africana studies and is the Director of the Center for Ethics, Peace, and Social Justice at SUNY Cortland. She co-edited Prisons and Punishment: Reconsidering Global Penality (Africa World Press, 2007) and The End of Prisons: Voices from the Decarceration Movement (Rodopi, 2013).


"Contesting Carceral Logic is a truly inspiring volume that draws energy from one of the most momentous social movements of our time. It is visionary as an anthology of collective voices from activists to scholars, profoundly anchored in the voices of the incarcerated themselves, besides, a critique that travels deep into the prison’s modern history and far into its unexpected impact for those who of us who believe we dwell peacefully and securely outside the system. Offering the fundamentals for abolition theory along with glimpses into what may well summon us beyond an epoch of social life rooted in punishment, it would be  key reference for understanding calls for defunding the police as well as for imagining in ways both practical and philosophical a new way of living." - Cynthia Willett, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Philosophy at Emory University

"Our so-called logics of crime and punishment deform our thinking to comport with scar tissues of consciousness founded upon the lawlessness of colonial exploitation. In Contesting Carceral Logic, voices from inside and outside prison walls document and bravely resist the relentless harms of our carceral world order. As this book demonstrates, another logic is necessary, and the struggle to secure it is well underway."Greg Moses, Editor of The Acorn: Philosophical Studies in Pacifism and Nonviolence and former college instructor at Greenhaven Prison