“Punishment is never fated to ‘succeed’ to any great degree.” A society that “intends to promote disciplined conduct and social control will concentrate not upon punishing offenders but upon socializing and integrating young citizens.”
Such was the optimistic expression of David Garland, the NYU professor who started the abolition of punishment movement back in 1990.
In the subsequent quarter century, however, the abolitionist agenda never moved beyond the radical elite. Then, in just the last few years, there came a strategic shift to demand only the abolition of prisons. The goal is to “build a more humane and democratic society that no longer relies on caging people to meet human needs and solve social problems.”