Chapter 9The Peace Room

When we think about the prison abolitionist movement ... it’s not “Tear down all prison walls tomorrow,” it’s “crowd out prisons” with other things that work effectively and bring communities together rather than destroying them.

—Andrea Smith, INCITE!: Women of Color Against Violence1

As spring exhales its way into summer, I pay a visit to Manley High School in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood. In 2007, Manley logged the most “violent incidents” of any high school in the city—though of course such rankings will always be subjective, depending on which incidents are reported, which are dubbed violent, and who’s counting.2 Largely attended by black and Latino students, it’s prime ground for the school-to-prison pipeline, ...

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