Prisons, Policing, and Pollution: Toward an Abolitionist Framework within Environmental Justice

Resource Author: Ki'Amber Thompson

Date Published: 2018

Resource Type: Publication, Resources

How are prisons, policing, pollution related and why is this intersection critical to understand? Environmental Justice defines the environment as the spaces where we live, work, play, and pray. The Environmental Justice (EJ) Movement has traditionally used this definition to organize against toxics in low-income communities of color. However, within EJ work, prisons or policing have often not been centralized or discussed. This means that the approximately 2.2 million people that are incarcerated are excluded from the conversation and movement. Additionally, communities and activists are identifying police and prisons as toxics in their communities, but an analysis of policing and prisons is largely missing in EJ scholarship. This is an issue because although anti-prison organizers are engaging in EJ discourse and EJ activists are joining forces with anti-prison activists, in general, the EJ field has not thoughtfully engaged with the prison industrial complex or abolitionist discourse.