10. The Justice System

“Why have we put our faith in the justice system to do the hard work of creating social equity and meaningful accountability for violence?

Lucas Crawford and Robert Nichols in “Rethinking hate crimes” from Beyond the Queer Alphabet

photo @breasoul


How just is the justice system? In this module, we will explore why scholars who are invested in gender equality, anti-racism, inclusion, and decolonization do not think that the justice system has the potential to bring about social justice.  We will study the relationship between social justice and the justice system by analyzing arguments for prison abolition and considering alternative models of justice, including: restorative justice and transformative justice.

Learning Objectives

  • Examine arguments for prison abolition
  • Explain why hate crimes legislation contradicts the goal of social justice 
  • Reflect upon the reasons prisons are taken for granted
  • Define retributive justice, restorative justice, transformative justice, and social justice

Moving Forward