Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Y. Davis

By Angela Y. Davis

Together with her attribute brilliance, grace and radical audacity, Angela Y. Davis has placed the case for the most recent abolition stream in American existence: the abolition of the criminal. As she relatively adequately notes, American existence is replete with abolition hobbies, and after they have been engaged in those struggles, their possibilities of luck appeared nearly unthinkable. For generations of american citizens, the abolition of slavery used to be sheerest phantasm. Similarly,the entrenched method of racial segregation looked as if it would final eternally, and generations lived in the course of the perform, with few predicting its passage from customized. The brutal, exploitative (dare one say lucrative?) convict-lease method that succeeded formal slavery reaped thousands to southern jurisdictions (and untold miseries for tens of hundreds of thousands of fellows, and women). Few envisioned its passing from the yank penal panorama. Davis expertly argues how social events remodeled those social, political and cultural associations, and made such practices untenable.
In Are Prisons Obsolete?, Professor Davis seeks to demonstrate that the time for the legal is impending an finish. She argues forthrightly for "decarceration", and argues for the transformation of the society as a whole.

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At the beginning crime is rising or the incarceration is necessary. first century, the numerous private prison companies operating in the United States own and operate In the post-Civil War era, emancipated black men and facilities that hold 9 1,828 federal and state prisoners. 1 14 women comprised an enormous reservoir of labor at a time Texas and Oklahoma can claim the when planters-and industrialists-could no longer rely on in private prisons . But New Mexico imprisons forty-four slavery, as they had done in the past.

This era. Contemporary writings by women political prison­ It is from this perspective of the contemporary expansion ers today include poems and short stories by Ericka Huggins of prisons, both in the United States and throughout the and Susan Rosenberg, analyses of the prison industrial com­ world, that we should examine some of the historical and plex by Linda Evans, and curricula for HIV/AIDS education ideological aspects of state punishment imposed on women. in women's prisons by Kathy Boudin and the members of the Since the end of the eighteenth century, when, as we have Bedford Hills ACE collective}7 seen, imprisonment began to emerge as the dominant form Despite the availability of perceptive portrayals of life in of punishment, convicted women have been represented as women's prisons, it has been extremely difficult to persuade essentially different from their male counterparts.

Moreover, there are 1990 to 1998, homicide rates dropped by half currently 84 federal facilities and 264 private facilities. 108 taken, The government reports, from which these figures are the extent to which incarceration rates are slowing down. The Bureau of Justice Statistics report During the same period when crime rates were declining, entitled "Prisoners in 2001" introduces the study by indi­ prison populations soared. According to a recent report by cating that lithe Nation's prison population grew 1.

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