People Against Prisons Aotearoa is a prison abolitionist organisation working for a fairer, safer, and more just Aotearoa.

Since our formation in 2015 as a group concerned about the treatment of transgender people in prisons, we’ve become a mass-based organisation that works with different communities to address the worst problems of the criminal justice system, and to build a better one.

what we believe

All the evidence shows that prisons don’t reduce crime. They take you away from your support networks, put you in an environment where violence is the only solution to your problems, and then expect you to come out a better person.

Prisons are places where people experience incredible violence every day. People take that violence out of prison when they leave and bring it home. Prisons have never kept our communities safe, and never will.

PAPA believes that everyone has the ability to change. No one is born a criminal. When someone has hurt others, that does not mean they are destined to keep hurting others for the rest of their lives. If people are treated with dignity and respect, and given the resources they need to survive and thrive, we can live in a less violent and more peaceful society.

We see prisons for what they are: a club to bash down poor people, brown people, and everyone our society doesn’t want to make space for. Prisons across the world double down on inequality and give more power to those who already have it. Prisons are a fundamental obstacle to social justice and equality.

That’s why we are prison abolitionists. We believe that there is a better way to achieve justice for everyone. Prisons can never be part of the way we get there.

latest update

  • Build Communities, Not Cages

    On Saturday 25th May, join us outside Mount Eden Prison to say NO to Three Strikes, US-style megaprisons, defunding social services, and mass incarceration.

    [read more]


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