WE BELIEVE:
  1. That crime and harm are two different things. Some people are convicted of crimes but have not harmed anyone. Others do great harm to many people but are never convicted of a crime. For example, people can be convicted of crimes for shoplifting or begging while others are celebrated for polluting the environment and exploiting workers.
     

  2. That the concept of crime developed alongside the criminal justice system to control and punish people who are in difficult situations, to reinforce systems of class divide and racism, and to contain people who might pose a threat to existing power structures. It continues to play this role today.
     

  3. That violence is constant and widespread in our current society. While individuals might engage in violent behaviour, this does not mean that violence is in their nature. Harm and violence are caused by dysfunctional systems and cultures in society. Therefore we cannot prevent harm and violence by locking up individuals.
     

  4. That all people are capable of causing harm to and being harmed by others. Whether or not we have been convicted of a crime, we all have a responsibility to respect the humanity of others and to try not to cause harm. Where we have harmed others, we all have a responsibility to try to make amends and should be supported to do this by our communities.
     

  5. That the criminal justice system does not prevent harm and violence in wider society but in fact creates more of it. Locking people up creates devastation in their lives and the lives of their families, friends and communities. While hundreds of thousands are imprisoned each year, violence and suffering in our society and communities continues, with little to no support available for those who experience it. Politicians and the media constantly use ‘public safety' to legitimise imprisonment but the criminal justice system does not keep us safe.
     

  6. That nobody, regardless of any harm they may have caused to others, should have to endure the conditions regularly experienced by people in prison. These are conditions such as solitary confinement, lack of access to healthcare, bullying, physical violence and the destruction of hope.
     

  7. That all people, regardless of their class, gender, race, religion, sexuality or dis/ability deserve access to the resources they need to live and to thrive. While people from a range of backgrounds can find themselves imprisoned, the criminal justice system locks up a bigger proportion of people from working class backgrounds and from other groups that are discriminated against in wider society. In this way, the system contributes to inequalities in wider society, and must be dismantled to achieve freedom for all.

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