© 2022 WYPR
20th Anniversary Background
WYPR 88.1 FM Baltimore WYPF 88.1 FM Frederick WYPO 106.9 FM Ocean City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

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

Derecka Purnell_scaled cropped headshot.png
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.

BecomingAbolitionsts_Final Art_040821-RGB[26].jpg
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.

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