Abolitionism emerged from the political schisms that gripped Western Europe and North America in the late 1960s. It was a ‘social movement, a theoretical perspective and a political strategy’ (de Haan 1991:203). Abolitionists not only challenged the dominant discourses surrounding crime and punishment but also argued for the abolition of the prison. They maintained that the institution was less concerned with the rehabilitation and social integration of the offender and was more concerned with the delivery of punishment and pain. In practice, the discourses of rehabilitation and reform were chimeras that masked and mystified the capacity of the institution to deliver punishment. Prisons not only failed to rehabilitate; they also failed in their other goals in terms of individual and collective deterrence, crime prevention and incapacitation. In short, the prison was indefensible (Mathiesen 2000).