ID: HR23-436
Presenting author: Juan Fernandez Ochoa

Presenting author biography:

Juan Fernández Ochoa is Campaigns & Communications Officer with the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) and coordinates the Support Don’t Punish campaign, a decentralised initiative promoting mobilisation to end the “war on drugs” and build sustainable alternatives. Juan believes in full-spectrum harm reduction and collaborates with Abolitionist Futures

“Support. Don’t Punish” — A prison abolitionist call?

Juan Fernandez Ochoa

Workshop content

Prison abolition is a political vision for a world without surveillance and punishment, an analytical lens to understand and subvert oppression, and a practical strategy to organise for sustainable change toward building supportive, caring communities. This workshop will begin with a brief introduction to key concepts related to prison abolition and utilise the experiences and demands of a number of Support. Don’t Punish campaigners worldwide (with a particular accent on community-led and Global South-based initiatives) to illustrate existing points of convergence between this notion and the harm reduction and drug policy reform movement. Following space for collective discussion on the basics of abolition, participants will be invited to, in groups, reflect upon the concepts of reformist vs. non-reformist/abolitionist reforms through concrete examples resulting from a brainstorming exercise. Each group will then be invited to share their conclusions to start a final discussion on pending challenges and possibilities for further alignment.

Learning objectives

This workshop will provide participants with an introduction to prison abolition and its intersections with the harm reduction and drug policy reform movement, as well as identifying frictions and potential avenues to mitigate them in service of building cross-movement anti-carceral solidarity.

Expected outcomes

+ Participants understand and discuss abolitionist goals and their relationship with harm reduction and drug policy reform.
+ Participants have concrete examples of abolitionist initiatives organised by some Support. Don’t Punish campaigners worldwide.
+ Participants are able to distinguish between reforms that maintain or expand the reach, power and legitimacy of punitive responses, and reforms that undermine state and interpersonal violence.
+ Participants have new conceptual and analytical tools to both assess the gaps between their campaigning and advocacy work and abolitionist goals, and consider avenues to mitigate them.