This page has a description of the no dane county jail working group, our goals for the work, and our manifesto. The manifesto has our political philosophy and reasons for working against the proposed new Dane County jail.
Who we are
The No Dane County Jail Working Group is a diverse and otherwise unaffiliated collective of Dane County residents who believe in abolishing the prison industrial complex and oppose the construction of a new, expanded, or even renovated Dane County Jail. We meet every other Tuesday at 8:00pm at the Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative, 426 Gilman St., to discuss philosophies, strategies, and upcoming actions. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- public education and awareness of prison abolition and the prison industrial complex
- investment in community-based alternatives to incarceration
As prison abolitionists, we seek more than just the end to jails and prisons. The organization Critical Resistance defines prison abolition as “a political vision with the goal of eliminating imprisonment, policing, and surveillance and creating lasting alternatives to punishment and imprisonment.” In other words, prison abolition advocates for the end of the prison industrial complex (PIC), a term that describes “the overlapping interests of government and industry that use surveillance, policing, and imprisonment as solutions to economic, social and political problems.”
Prison abolition requires focusing on how our society as a whole functions to reinforce visions of “security” that require the existence of prisons and the designation of some people as “bad” and “criminal.”
Prison abolition requires that we see how many of our institutions- like schools, hospitals, and mental health facilities- participate in the expansion and maintenance of the PIC.
Prison abolition requires that we see how hate crime laws and other tough-on-crime legislation do not protect us, but function to punish and incarcerate those communities who were already most vulnerable in society: people of color, poor people, queer, trans, two spirit and gender non-conforming people, sex workers, homeless people, people with mental illnesses, people with disabilities, undocumented immigrants, and indigenous/Native peoples.
Thus, prison abolition requires that we rebuild our societal structures and institutions in ways that don’t rely on incarceration; that we imagine alternatives to prison in our communities; and that we find ways to live those alternatives in the present, so we can all have a future that doesn’t include the PIC.
Because we, as concerned residents of Dane County believe in prison abolition, we oppose the construction of a new, expanded, or renovated Dane County Jail.