Abstract

Using recent work by anti-prison theorists and community-based activists who are working against the prison industrial complex, this article links prison abolition to feminist frameworks to question escalating sex offender registries and community notification laws that are the state's response to sexual violence against children and women. Part one offers a brief and queer history of sex offender registries in the United States and their growth in the last two decades, the available data on who assaults children and women. Part one will also use existing research to question the goal of safety that these registries advance. Part two builds on this foundation to use current shifts in the juvenile justice system to investigate how race, class, and gender complicate who has access to the protected categories of childhood and motherhood, and to the characteristic of innocence. Part three examines how sex offender registries participate in the larger practices of the privatization of public space and the expanding prison industrial complex. Part four concludes by using abolition as a possible framework to shift public dialogues about safety and conceptions about childhood and family, and discusses organizations that work within this framework to challenge our nation's over-reliance on incarceration.

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