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Abolitionism and the Criminal Justice System

In general terms, Abolitionism is understood as the current of thought that proposes the abolition of the penal system: it is a very radical position, which does not propose an alternative criminal policy, but rather an alternative to criminal policy.

The name comes from the political, legal and ethical struggles and disputes around the legality or not of slavery in the 19th century in the United States, and later on the death penalty.

Although the best-known authors of this current they had been publishing texts since the 1960s and 1970s, the forceful presentation of abolitionism at the world level occurred in 1983, on the occasion of the Ninth World Congress of Criminology held in Vienna.

It is not easy to define Abolitionism, and not only because of the different intellectual traditions that are recognized as such, but because Abolitionism is at the same time a social movement as well as a theoretical perspective.

From the point of view of the social movement, there is no doubt about the existence of groups whose goals are the abolition of the prison system and pressure against the penal system, such as the Norwegian KROM, the Swedish KRUM, the Danish and Finnish KRIM. , the German KRAK, the Prison Information Group in France, the COORNHERT League in the Netherlands, and the English RAP, among others.

From the point of view of the theoretical perspective, there is an abundant literature that claims to be abolitionist, and others that are not, although they can be considered as such, that presents a certain lack of precision and firm descriptive concepts, hence that it has been defined as "a sensitizing theory".

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