The prison abolition movement encompasses a range of objectives and perspectives. While dismantling the carceral system may be the ultimate goal, incremental steps can be an important component of this long-term project. This Essay makes a case for the constitutional elimination of pretrial detention as one part of an incremental abolitionist agenda. The analysis pays particular attention to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s recent decision in Commonwealth v. Lougee, which illustrates some of the ways in which the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated preexisting injustices and inequities in the pretrial detention system. Although Lougee itself affords only limited avenues of relief for unconvicted individuals languishing in custody, the decision nevertheless highlights the important role that state constitutional law can play in advancing the cause of abolition when federal constitutional law falls short.
REYES, RENÉ, "Abolition Constitutionalism and Non-Reformist Reform: The Case for Ending Pretrial Detention" (2021). Connecticut Law Review. 504.