Resisting Carceral Violence: Inside-Out Movement Building

Bree Carlton1, Emma Russell2
1School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia, 2Department of Social Inquiry, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia

This research provides critical lessons for abolitionists about how interventions and actions fostered in collaboration with imprisoned communities can create transformative opportunities for public education and inside-out movement building. We draw from anti-carceral feminist campaigns in the Australian state of Victoria in the 1980s and 1990s and use the archival trails kept by anti-carceral feminist activists to highlight how the voices and contributions of imprisoned women have over time provided a foundational force for the movement. The sustained compilation of complaints, a large scale public education campaign, and a series of direct actions undertaken inside and outside the prison gates are expressions of defiance and resistance generated by a building inside-out anti-carceral feminist movement. We argue that inside-out campaign work necessitates the navigation of myriad challenges and paradoxes created by institutional walls, structural injustices and power imbalances. Using examples from historical struggles we explore how anti-carceral feminist coalitions navigated these barriers and take stock of what we can learn moving forward into the future.


Bree Carlton is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University. Her research explores strategies for preventing and resisting against prison generated violence and harm. Bree authored Imprisoning Resistance (Federation Press 2007) and is co-editor of Women Exiting Prison (Routledge 2013).

Emma K. Russell is a Lecturer in Crime, Justice and Legal Studies in the Department of Social Inquiry at La Trobe University. Her work has been published in various journals, including Theoretical Criminology, Critical Criminology and Crime Media Culture.



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