Over the past two decades, transformative justice has gained momentum as an organized effort to answer contemporary abolitionism’s thorniest question: How can a society handle the problem of harm without resorting to punishment? The movement has sought to develop responses to harm and violence that reject retribution and instead emphasize accountability, repair, care, and attention to the systemic roots of violence. In large part because the movement took form in explicit rejection of the state’s administration of justice, the work of transformative justice has most frequently been done on an unpaid basis of mutual aid. Here’s a movement that has germinated in collective homes, borrowed office spaces, online forums, activist convenings, parks—in other words, in the abolitionist commons. As transformative justice has gained currency over the course of the pandemic, its ideas have been taken up in new realms, including the university, the nonprofit, the prison, and the courts. The current moment is ripe for taking stock of where the movement is right now, and where it is going. What does it look like to build toward abolition infrastructures or infrastructures of collective care? How might an abolitionist theory of the state guide this work?

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