Transformative Justice, Explained

Teen Vogue
by Kim Tran
November 15, 2018


In August, a nationwide campaign began in American prisons. Between August 21 and September 9, inmates across the country protested the inhumane treatment they regularly face. It could be one of the biggest prison protests to ever take place in the United States, where over 2 million people are in prison and 59% are either Black or Latinx.

America’s prison problem has been impacting more and more women. From the 1970s through 2014, the number of women behind bars grew 14 times over. These numbers are even more acute for queer people. In 2012, the [Williams Institute] ( found that 40% of the women in prison either self-identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) or reported a same-sex sexual experience.

Key factors are leading activists to transformative justice (TJ), including raising awareness around mass incarceration, unfair sentencing practices, racially motivatedover-policing, and failure of American politicians to address sexual violence in a substantive way. Those in the TJ movement are working toward an approach that doesn’t depend on the unequal reach of the law for accountability.

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