Multi-generational cruelty: America's prisons shutting down kids' visitations #1yrago
The history of American prison visitations are a mix of racism (“black men, denied sex, will riot in jail”) and compassion – especially the late 1960s’ ground-breaking, multi-day family visitation programs that allowed prisoners to play and live with their children for a whole weekend a few times every year.
But when Bill Clinton created his racist “southern strategy” – which imposed flamboyantly cruel minimum sentences for minor infractions, and stripped the prison system of any vestige of compassion or rehabilitation – he set in motion the process by which prisoners’ ability to stay connected to their families would be eroded, and, eventually, taken away altogether in most of the country.
The American carceral state entraps more black people than Apartheid, and creates a pattern of multi-generational trauma that the erosion of visitation exacerbates. Prisoners who lose touch with their families are more likely to end up in prison again – and the children of prisoners, denied the chance to bond with their parents, are more likely to get in trouble with the law.
But who needs evidence (or compassion) when there’s easy political points to be scored through vicious, public acts of cruelty?