Mass Incarceration and Abolition

Once incarcerated, inmates are subjected to inhumane wages for difficult work, traumatic solitary confinement, guard abuse, and punted trials. The criminal justice system--from police brutality and abundant arrests to insurmountable bail, sentencing, inhumane treatment once incarcerated, and a neglected reintegration process--needs reform from top to bottom. Many people in jail are yet to be convicted but can’t afford bail.


In collaboration with Columbia University’s Center for Justice, ARTE has led workshops at Rikers and believes in increasing resources for those incarcerated and impacted by the broken system at all levels, most importantly in preventative systemic reform.


By the numbers: 75% of people released from Rikers aren’t sentenced to prison; 80% of those in Rikers are yet to be convicted but can’t afford bail.

ARTE takes great inspiration from the artists and activists that fight for those affected by the criminal justice system. Here are a just a few of our favourites.






























Also, check out ARTE murals that confront issues of mass incarceration and prison reform:



















13TH  by Ava DuVernay (documentary)

After Rikers: Justice by Design (documentary short)

“Greater New York” by Deena Lawson

Crime + Punishment (documentary)

Mass Incarceration, Visualized (video)


Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

The Marshall Project (a nonprofit journalism site)


Columbia University’s Center for Justice June Jordan Fellowship

Become a Pen Pal with a incarcerated LGBTQIA2S+ person

ACLU: What You Can Do


El Mac, Lady Liberty


Ernel Martinez, Fathers and Children Together


The Unapologetically Brown Series


Justyne Fischer, Loosie Law (left),Two Seconds (right)


Brandan "Bmike" Odums, I Am A Man


Jess X Snow, Unbroken by Bars (Stephanie)


Global Women Heroes

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Prison is a Feminist Issue