On the Road to Freedom: An Abolitionist  Assessment of Pretrial and Bail Reforms

On the Road to Freedom: An Abolitionist Assessment of Pretrial and Bail Reforms

We at Critical Resistance are excited to present our newest release – On the Road to Freedom –  a toolkit we’ve created in partnership with Community Justice Exchange. This toolkit provides an abolitionist orientation for approaches to pretrial reform. The primary purpose of this tool is to provide organizers who seek to challenge pretrial detention with examples, challenges, and best practices for moving forward an abolitionist campaign – ideally resulting in more wins!

Made up of a number of tools to use, On the Road to Freedom begins with a colorful spectrum tool that highlights the challenges of navigating different reforms and concessions  with the aim of offering some guidance as to what’s possible, what to fight for and what not to accept.

It also includes a set of abolitionist evaluative questions, a tool intended to assess the specifics of pretrial reforms to help determine where there’s the strongest potential for the most abolitionist outcome. 

The toolkit is completed by a set of case studies that use the abolitionist evaluative tools as a lens to look at a variety of campaigns and pretrial reforms across the country. We hope that it will be useful for organizers to compare and contrast their local contexts with our assessment of these case studies to gain insight and lessons learned toward strengthening fights against pretrial detention everywhere. 

There’s also a glossary of terms to support readers with terms used in pretrial work.  We lay out what we mean when we use words like “pretrial,” “bail,” etc, for the sake of clarity and consistency. 

The toolkit can be used as a whole, but is also able to be broken up into its component tools and used separately. We hope that you’ll use any and all parts and let us know what works. And of course, make concrete gains in the fight for abolition.

Much thanks to Danbee Kim for the graphic design of the toolkit!