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Penal Abolition: An Ideological and Practical Venture Against Criminal (In)Justice and Victimization

Saleh-Hanna, Viviane
June 4, 2015

Source: (2000) M.A. thesis, School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University, Canada. Downloaded 4 March 2005.

Penal Abolition is an academic and activist movement that rejects reliance on penal structures and state-imposed oppression as legitimate reactions to human conflict, harm and violence. Dissatisfaction with penology and its failure to make a safe and balanced society has resulted in a movement which focuses on structures that enforce this failure, while working to change the elements that justify its existence. The following research outlines the major concepts which form the theoretical realm of penal abolition. These concepts are then compared and contrasted to the social and political activist realms of penal abolitionism. The clashes which occur between academia and activism are presented and critically assessed. In addition, some of the major debates and critiques of penal abolition are discussed in detail, making references to both the activist and the academic arguments. Upon outlining both the academic and the activist frameworks of penal abolition, an analysis of the Canadian penal abolitionist movement is presented. An extensive literature review of critical and radical criminological works is used to both strengthen and constructively criticize the contemporary penal abolitionist movement. Author’s abstract.


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