The Abolitionist, launched in the spring of 2005 by CR’s Oakland chapter, is a bilingual (English/Spanish) publication dedicated to the strategy and struggle of prison industrial complex (PIC) abolition. The Abolitionist is sent to thousands of people imprisoned in jails, prisons and detention centers in the US and in some countries internationally. It is free to prisoners and is supported by paid subscribers on the outside. Each paid subscription by a non-imprisoned person sponsors a free subscription for at least one prisoner.

The Abolitionist working group is a member-based editorial collective within Critical Resistance that operates by consensus. The paper is an important forum for prisoner voices and a valuable source of news and analysis on the issues that affect prisoners and state-targeted communities across the country. This is a major organizing tool with and for people who are locked up. Topics covered range from re-entry to the criminalization of immigrants to prisoner health care to internationalism to alternative visions, practices and models for a safer, more humane world.

A Vital Tool for Inside-Outside Organizing and Radical Political Education

Listen to imprisoned columnist Stephen Wilson explain the importance of the paper to people locked up and his plan for his column, “9971,” focused on study for abolition.

Project News & Updates: 2020-2023

Critical Resistance members worked hard all of 2020 to revitalize The Abolitionist newspaper project. Restructuring the paper itself as well as our editorial and publishing processes, CR’s The Abolitionist Editorial Collective published three timely and comprehensive issues from summer 2020-2021, and focus on improving our distribution and circulation of the paper both inside and outside of prison. In 2022, the editorial collective changed the frequency of the issues and committed to printing two issues per year instead of three, in order to grow more capacity to prioritize circulation and engagement with each printed issue.

Issue 38

Free download of full issue here.

Issue 39

  • Printed June 2023
  • Features reproductive justice & PIC abolition

Free download of complete issue now available here!

Issue 40

  • Printing December 2023
  • On Control Units
  • Read the Letter from the Editors & Sneak Peek articles here!

Issue 41

First issue of 2024

  • Printing June 2024
  • Features focus on environmental justice

Issue 40


Hot Off the Press – #40: Control Units

Issue 40, with features on the development and proliferation of control units, prints in December 2023, circulating to over 4,800 subscribers inside and outside of cages. This was the final issue of 2023. Packed full of timely and useful analysis, reflection and resources for organizing inside and outside of cages, Issue 40 explores the dialectical relationship between repression and resistance, while also uplifting the ways in which imprisoned people have fortified their will to fight in the face of tortuous conditions.

See what’s inside the issue here and read the “sneak peek” article, an interview with former political prisoner Susan Rosenberg on shutting down control units for women. 

If you like what you see and want to support the project, sign up for a paid subscription to sponsor free subscriptions for prisoners . If you have a loved one currently incarcerated in jail, prison or detention, you can sign them up for a free subscription here. Issue 40 will be made available digitally for free on our website in May 2024.