Cops are everywhere in pop culture. It's not just The First 48, or the true-crime canon. "Friendly" cops surface even when we don't pay them any mind. Woody from Toy Story: a whole sheriff. The beloved Winston of New Girl: an embarrassingly awful rookie cop.

While it can be easy to dismiss TV as a lesser medium, we see pop culture as an opportunity to wrestle with overdue shifts around policing and justice.

And so we present to you pop justice, Scalawag's ongoing series that breaks down the ways popular culture—music, film, television, TikTok, journalism, and more—upholds the police state and ultimately stalls conversations on abolition.

For Scalawag's 3rd annual Abolition Week, pop justice exclusively features perspectives from currently and formerly incarcerated folks and systems-impacted folks. Tune through June 24th for more essays, videos, podcasts, and letters from the inside.

How the true crime shows and police dramas we watch rely on the status quo of the carceral state. Their success depends on it.

I was on The First 48. Your true-crime obsession is based on lies.

"Executives make loads of money off of grief without the slightest help for the family suffering a loss, just a rerun."

After 12 years of seeing false narratives play out about him on The First 48, Demetrius Buckley calls out true crime for what it really is: exploitation that reruns peoples' worst moments for profit.

First-hand accounts of the lived experiences of incarcerated people and how the media shapes those experiences—from their arrest, to their time inside, to re-entry.

How music shapes our understanding of crime and policing.

Supporting abolitionist media that listens to systems-impacted people and imagines a world beyond police.

Read, Watch, Listen, Do: An Abolitionist Media Guide

We've spent the week critiquing copaganda and misrepresentations of the criminal justice system by the media. Here's who gets it right: media with an abolitionist lens.

From music to movies to podcasts, this guide to abolitionist media will help you understand the harms of the carceral state.

Four headline mistakes newsrooms need to abolish

In reporting about the criminal justice system, these tropes are especially heinous.

No matter what a newsroom's bent is, at minimum, journalists have a responsibility to hold power to account—including in their headlines.

Breaking down the ways that history has colored our perceptions of prisons and policing today—and what it can tell us about the future.

What the history books won't tell you about abolition

The history we learn in schools leaves out the most important thing about abolition: It's possible.

From the Quakers to the Black Panthers to your neighborhood sex workers, as long as there's been police, communities have created their own systems to replace them.

Revisit Abolition Week 2021:

This collection of stories is designed to support you in your understanding of the abolitionist framework, from theory to practice. No matter where you find yourself between background and action, there are tools to help you on the path to the next step.