by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Congressional firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) said that America needs to have a “real conversation” about “prison abolition” on Monday morning.
Ocasio-Cortez responded to the story of a black man given 10 days in jail for missing jury duty by saying that lawmakers needed to explore the mass release of America’s prison population.
“Mass incarceration is our American reality,” she said in a tweet. “It is a system whose logic evolved from the same lineage as Jim Crow, American apartheid, & slavery. To end it, we have to change. That means we need to have a real conversation about decarceration & prison abolition in this country.”
“A cage is a cage is a cage. And humans don’t belong in them,” she added in a follow-up tweet.
“Prison abolition” is a proposal popular with the international far-left, which calls for “deep, structural reforms to how we handle and even think about crime in our country.” In general, abolitionists favor abolishing prisons and other systems of punishment, replacing them with “restorative justice” and social welfare programs meant to target the “root causes” of crime.
The Democratic Socialists of America, with which Ocasio-Cortez is affiliated, passed a resolution at its 2019 convention establishing a prison-abolition working group.
In a series of follow-up tweets, Ocasio-Cortez backtracked on her initial message. She said her aim was to reduce the prison population size, rather than abolish correctional institutions.