“Writing is an opportunity to put into words the threads forming the knotty contradictions of the historical moment and loosen them enough to release them toward a liberatory future. The abolitionist metaphors of ‘dismantle and build’ underlie the tendencies toward reflection and collective action common to all of my work.”
Mimi E. Kim is an associate professor of social work at California State University, Long Beach, and a longtime activist and engaged scholar at the intersections of racial and gender justice, abolition, and social movements. Kim’s work investigates the historical development of carceral feminism and the persisting phenomenon she calls the carceral creep. Her scholarship also chronicles and analyzes the evolution of abolition feminism through the lens of transformative and restorative justice. She is a collaborative creator of the Creative Interventions Toolkit: A Practical Guide to Stop Interpersonal Violence and companion workbook and is currently coediting a forthcoming book on abolition and social work.
The development of the feminist anti-domestic-violence movement in the United States illustrates the trajectory from a social movement field devoid of carceral involvement to one fully occupied by the agents of crime control.
Racial injustice at the intersections of interpersonal and state violence sets the stage for this examination of mainstream responses to domestic and sexual violence. At one end of this continuum is carceral feminism, a term signaling feminist reliance upon law enforcement as a dominant intervention strategy.
This article centers the dynamic of contradiction to synthesize insights of post-Marxist thought in application to contemporary anti-carceral feminist trends represented by transformative justice options. It also reflects on the recent ascendance of restorative justice and a renewed potential for carceral co-optation.
The Creative Interventions Toolkit is a practical guide to community-based interventions against interpersonal violence, a process also known as community accountability or transformative justice. Originally an online resource, it is written for everyday people—survivors, people who caused harm, and friends/family who want to help without turning to the police or government.
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