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Race

Civil Rights and Discrimination

2019

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

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Foreword: Abolition Constitutionalism, Dorothy E. Roberts Jan 2019

Foreword: Abolition Constitutionalism, Dorothy E. Roberts

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In this Foreword, I make the case for an abolition constitutionalism that attends to the theorizing of prison abolitionists. In Part I, I provide a summary of prison abolition theory and highlight its foundational tenets that engage with the institution of slavery and its eradication. I discuss how abolition theorists view the current prison industrial complex as originating in, though distinct from, racialized chattel slavery and the racial capitalist regime that relied on and sustained it, and their movement as completing the “unfinished liberation” sought by slavery abolitionists in the past. Part II considers whether the U.S. Constitution is an …