Political prisoner Leonard Peltier once wrote, “When you grow up Indian, you don’t have to become a criminal, you already are a criminal.” Through the drug trade, U.S. government has effectively marketed the policing and imprisonment of minorities as the key to public safety, and therefore marked them as targets of state terror. This unearths how Native men can be incarcerated at four times the rate of white men, how Native women can be incarcerated at six times the rate of white women. It demonstrates how the flooding of crack cocaine into Black communities during the ’70s correlated with a sharp increase in minimum sentencing laws that helped put 1.7 million Black people under some form of correctional control. It reveals how native Hawaiians, who represent just 20 percent of the state’s population, can comprise 40 percent of the its incarcerated. […] Indeed, of minorities and the poor it fashions enemies of the state with the intent to exercise terror. From the origins of police, to the school-to-prison-pipeline, to the vast network of U.S. incarceration, this has been the enduring legacy of the American judicial system — not safety, and certainly not justice.
Academics have developed complicated theories and obscure jargon in an effort to describe what is now referred to as structural racism, yet the concept is fairly straightforward. One theorist, Iris Marion Young, relying on a famous “birdcage” metaphor, explains it this way: If one thinks about racism by examining only one wire of the cage, or one form of disadvantage, it is difficult to understand how and why the bird is trapped. Only a large number of wires arranged in a specific way, and connected with one another, serve to enclose the bird and ensure it cannot escape.
What is particularly important to keep in mind is that any given wire of the cage may or may not be specifically developed for the purpose of trapping the bird, yet it still operates (together with other wires) to restrict its freedom.
having been to prison a couple times … it’s literally the worst thing I can imagine, especially when you’re by yourself in a cell with fucking nothing to do and no one to talk to … for days. its…..
I would literally rather die than go back to jail. It /is/ violence. There’s no way around it. And the vast majority of people in prisons are not there for committing violent acts, yet we are subjected to such violence. Being in prison and being in juvi is not an experience I wish to have again, I still have nightmares about going back. And I went there for no crimes of my own, I went there for shit that could not have been avoided, and it could happen again, and I fear this.
We’re not joking when we say how horrible it is, and if you really think people who have committed no real wrong deserve to suffer such brutal consequences… you’re a monster tbh.
Like people who in another state would suffer no consequences for their actions because their actions are not illegal, … it’s absurd. It’s absolutely absurd. We pick and chose who we wish to enact this violence on, and it’s completely arbitrary. People are not punished because they have committed wrong, people are punished because they are already exploited and suffering.
Jail is not rehabilitation, it has made my life worse, and it has made millions of other people’s lives worse. It should not exist.
Don’t tell me you’d be fine in a fucking cell by yourself for days and months until you actually live that and then fucking tell me its not violence.
No other country in the world imprisons so many of it’s racial or ethnic minorities. The United States imprisons a larger percentage of it’s black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid.
Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.
Prisons fail to protect society from "criminals," except for a very small percentage and only temporarily. Prisons "protect" the public only from those few who get caught and convicted, thereby serving the primary function of control over certain segments of society.
Prisons deter would-be "criminals" who decide not to take the risk. They discourage prisoners from criminal activity after their release.
The assumption that prisons deter crime at all is highly suspect. Despite its paramount importance in penal policy, the success of deterrence is never really examined for fear that it may prove to be a fantasy. In the same way, retribution is never really examined for fear it may be a fact. Prisons might deter a very small percentage of those who have done time but they encourage post-release crime in a far greater number of ex-prisoners.
Prisons rehabilitate prisoners.
The primary functions of prisons are control, punishment, and oftentimes retribution. Additionally, prison conditions generate an atmosphere of resentment over reconciliation and tend towards producing the behaviors prisons are allegedly meant to correct.
I suppose there's a sound argument that we don't want to see Trump and Pence roll out the welcome wagon for proto-fascist organization or see the Left crushed further into obscurity. For tactical reasons, sure, it may make sound sense to use what little political power you have to help prevent a neo-fascist upsurge.
Exactly! Vote Clinton and conform to democrat hegemony once she's in office! "Resign yourself" to Clinton and then fully support her starting in January! Yaaassss Queen!!!!
What? No. She's complicit in the bombing of innocent people abroad and she helped expand the Prison Industrial Complex in the 90s. She's everything that's wrong with the neoliberal imperialist capitalist status quo. Vote for her as an insurance policy against a Trump presidency if you want, but help us organize an anti-establishment opposition to her and capitalism once she gets into office.
While quick to adopt the more mainstream “equality” rhetoric of the civil rights movement, the LGBT movement has also embraced, or at least not explicitly challenged, the themes of “law and order” and “getting tough on crime.” These themes not only undermine the very meaning of racial justice and civil rights but also ensure the continuing abandonment of entire segments of communities of colour to the criminal legal system.
Queer Injustice: The Criminalisation of LGBT People In the United States by Joey L. Mogul, Andrea J. Ritchie, and Kay Whitlock