Steve Brooks, San Quentin State Prison, California

Greetings Comrades,

Congratulations on 25 years of abolition. My name is Steve Brooks. I am an inside organizer at San Quentin State prison.  Looking back, what I consider to be most valuable to the movement to abolish the prison Industrial complex is the growing numbers of abolitionists. The growing awareness about racism and police brutality and incidents like the police murder of George Floyd has galvanized support for abolishing prisons, abolishing police, [and] abolishing drug laws, […]. Now, we even see movement to abolish punishment in the prisons for a Norwegian style of rehabilitation. So I think prisons as we know them are not going to be able to continue. After decades of repeating ourselves, I believe our message is resonating “Prison perpetuates the very harm it claims to prevent.”

We must continue to push for adequate health care for the incarcerated and force officials to invest in people rather than cages. And I think we must continue to fight against predatory schemes corporations use to profit off poor Black and Brown people. As prisons become less profitable, they will become more obsolete. 

What I am most excited about is that we are seeing prison closures in California. I am hopeful we’ll see many more. I am excited about how reparations talks have been tied to the prisons. Real reparations must address the problem of policing and incarcerating Black and Brown people. I am very hopeful moving forward as an inside organizer. I plan to continue to move as if I have the power to change the world.

In Solidarity,

Steve Brooks

Ella Baker Center Inside Fellow

CURB’s CA Prison Closure Campaign

San Quentin State Prison