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"Becoming Abolitionists": Derecka Purnell on abolishing police, prisons

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Author Derecka Purnell is a Harvard-educated lawyer, organizer and resident scholar with the Initiative for Social Justice at Columbia University. (courtesy photo)

Tom's next guest is Derecka Purnell. She is an activist and human rights lawyer with a law degree from Harvard University. She's a scholar-in-residence with Columbia University's Initiative for Social Justice, and a columnist for The Guardian. She's also the author of a new book that challenges our long-held assumptions about policing and incarceration. In fact, she argues that police departments and prisons should be abolished.

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Published by Penguin/Random House Publishers.

She writes, "Abolition is not the mere absence of police and prisons. It’s a paradigm, aspiration and organizing practice to make those institutions obsolete,” and she links the abolitionist movement to decolonization, disability justice, Earth justice and socialism.

The book is called Becoming Abolitionists:  Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom.

Derecka Purnell will engage in an on-line conversation about the book on Thursday night (Nov. 11) with our good friend, D Watkins. To register for the free event, which is hosted by Charm City Books, click here.

Ms. Purnell joins us now on our digital line from Washington, DC.

Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Malarie is Midday's Supervisory Producer.
Rob is Midday's senior producer.