“Michelle Alexander, highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate, Associate Professor of Law at Ohio State University, and author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, delivers the 30th Annual George E. Kent Lecture, in honor of the late George E. Kent, who was one of the earliest tenured African American professors at the University of Chicago.
“The Annual George E. Kent Lecture is organized and sponsored by the Organization of Black Students, the Black Student Law Association, and the Students for a Free Society.”
Tag Archives | Prisons
One of the major players in the realm of comic books has been the United Kingdom, and one of its most important periods occurred in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s with the British Invasion of American comics. This period saw the influx of British creators, most of whom initially worked for DC Comics, creators such as Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, Simon Bisley, Dave McKean, Peter Milligan, and Scottish writer Grant Morrison. It is Morrison and his work that we will be sampling in this post, specifically, the brilliant and explosive introduction of Mr. Nobody - “the spirit of the twenty-first century” – which occurred in Doom Patrol #26. The issue was published in 1989 during the beginning stages of Morrison’s epic run in the series (#19-63).
Not that I condone mental torture, but there is something appealing about anarchists using modern art as a weapon against the fascist war machine. From the Guardian archives:
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A Spanish art historian has uncovered what was alleged to be the first use of modern art as a deliberate form of torture — mind-bending prison cells were built by anarchist artists 65 years ago during the country’s bloody civil war.
Bauhaus artists, as well as the surrealist Luis Bunuel and his friend Salvador Dali, were said to be the inspiration behind a series of secret cells built in Barcelona and elsewhere.
Most were the work of an enthusiastic French anarchist, Alphonse Laurencic, who invented a form of “psychotechnic” torture, according to the research of the historian Jose Milicua.
Mr Milicua’s information came from a written account of Laurencic’s trial before a Francoist military tribunal. Laurencic, a painter, created his so-called “coloured cells” as a contribution to the fight against General Franco’s rightwing rebel forces.
Via Prison Photography, the Pelican Bay State Prison SHU Short Corridor Collective’s statement on the demands of the protest on behalf of which many California prisoners are willing to risk death (with ending long-term solitary confinement being the most significant issue):
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1. Eliminate group punishments. Instead, practice individual accountability. When an individual prisoner breaks a rule, the prison often punishes a whole group of prisoners of the same race.
2. Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria. Prisoners are accused of being active or inactive participants of prison gangs using false or highly dubious evidence, and are then sent to longterm isolation (SHU).
3. Comply with the recommendations of the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in Prisons regarding an end to longterm solitary confinement. Some prisoners have been kept in isolation for more than thirty years.
4. Provide adequate food. Prisoners report unsanitary conditions and small quantities of food that do not conform to prison regulations.
ThinkProgress on the rosy outlook from Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group, the nation’s first- and second-largest operators of for-profit prisons:
During a conference call touting its success, representatives at GEO Group boasted that the company continues to have “solid occupancy rates in mid to high 90s” and that they are optimistic “regarding the outlook for the industry,” in part due to a “growing offender population.” GEO Senior Vice President John Hurley assured investors during the call:
We have a longstanding partnership with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the United States Marshal Service and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE. … We continue to see meaningful opportunities for us to partner with all three of these federal agencies. The federal bureau of prisons continues to face capacity constraints coupled with a growing offender population.
During its investor call in February, CCA CEO Damon Hininger assured investors a strong “continued demand for beds.”
Via Creative Time Reports, aerial photographer Christoph Gielen on prisons as the new housing boom:
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Since 1980, when the U.S. prison population began to increase dramatically, Americans have been living in an era of mass incarceration, which Jeremy Travis, president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, has called one of the “greatest social experiments of our time.” The Spatial Information Design Lab, a think- and action-tank at Columbia University, goes so far as asking, “have prisons and jails become the mass housing of our time?”
I want to illustrate how prison design and architecture do in fact reflect political discourse, economic priorities, cultural sentiments and social insecurities, and how, in turn, these constructed environments also become statements about a society.
The opportunity to visually examine these restricted locations is significant; while some (low-resolution) satellite images of prison complexes are available in the public domain, the public cannot inspect Supermax facilities on the ground.
The tragedy of American mass shootings inspires terrible choices. Regarding the president’s move to encourage the further policification of schools, Unprison writes:
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The 18th Executive Order signed by President Obama is to provide incentives (and funding) for schools to have police oversee the children. This will create results.
School police, known as “Resource Officers” (perhaps for easier digestion) have been key builders of the School to Prison Pipeline. The fistfights and the joint in the bathroom do not result in detention or suspension anymore: now they are imprisonment, expulsion, and an often insurmountable mountain to climb towards any “normal” adult lifestyle.
A 2011 report by Justice Police Institute [suggests] that the overall damage to a community is not justified by the vague possibility that the school is safer. In fact, there are indications that the police actually lead to increased violence in schools.
Children have been the fastest growing segment in the industry of prisoners.
Early morning November 19, seven members of Decarcerate PA set up school desks, banners, and a little red schoolhouse to block the entrance to the prison construction site in Montgomery County. They then sat at the desks, linking arms and refusing to move or allow construction vehicles onto the sight. Construction was delayed for over an hour before all seven protesters were arrested and taken away. The new prisons are being built on the grounds of SCI Graterford in Montgomery County. If completed, they will cost $400 million and house 4,100 people. We believe these prisons must be stopped, and that the money should be reinvested in our schools and communities.
Corrections Corporation of America is accused of using targeted prison gang violence as a cost-saving measure, ThinkProgress reports:
A lawsuit brought by eight inmates of the Idaho Correctional Center alleges that the company is cutting back on personnel costs by partnering with violent prison gangs to help control the facility. Court documents and an investigative report issued by the state’s Department of Corrections show how guards routinely looked the other way when gang members violated basic facility rules, negotiated with gang leaders on the cell placement of new inmates, and may have even helped one group of inmates plan a violent attack on members of a rival gang.
The inmates contend that officials at the prison — the state’s largest, with more than 2,000 beds — use gang violence and the threat of gang violence as an “inexpensive device to gain control over the inmate population,” according to the lawsuit, and foster and develop criminal gangs.”