Tag Archives: prison industrial complex

How I Was Introduced To Prison Abolition

The first time I can remember the concept of prison abolition appearing on my radar was my junior year of college — a friend was involved with an organization, Justice Now, that works with women prisoners and toward a world without prisons. Their website, although it never technically mentions the term “abolition,” was the first real exposure I had to the idea of prison abolition — the idea of getting rid of prisons in favor of  a “world without prisons.” Continue reading

Blogging About Prison Abolition

I have referred to prison abolition numerous times on my blog. I have not, however, devoted a post specifically to prison abolition. For a number of reasons, really — how could I condense everything I want to say into one post? There’s also a lot of pressure for that one post to be perfect: it’s an important topic. I want for learning about prison abolition to change people’s minds, people’s worldviews, people’s lives. And I don’t think I’m the person to do that. Continue reading

Regardless What Happens With Hurricane Irene, Rikers Island Will Not Be Evacuated

The entire East Coast is preparing for Hurricane Irene. For New York City, according to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, this means a shutdown of the MTA and the first mandatory evacuation in NYC’s history, which will affect roughly 250,000 people.  It does not, however, mean that anything will be done about those at Rikers Island. To quote Jean Casella and James Ridgeway’s “Locked Up and Left Behind: New York’s Prisoners and Hurricane Irene,” “Rikers Island, which lies in the waters between Queens and the Bronx, is not highlighted at all [on the city's evacuation map], meaning it is not to be evacuated under any circumstances.” Let me repeat that, just in case you somehow missed it. It is not be to evacuated under any circumstances.  Continue reading

Support the Hunger Strikers at Pelican Bay

“Prisoners in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison (California) began an indefinite hunger strike on July 1, 2011 to protest the cruel and inhumane conditions of their imprisonment.” What they are asking for is heartbreaking — they shouldn’t need to be on strike: their demands should be a given. It has now been eleven days since the hunger strike began, and “the medical conditions for many strikers have deteriorated to critical levels, with fears some prisoners could start to die if immediate action isn’t taken.” Continue reading

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Maybe Not So Much

Today is July 4th — “Independence Day.” All over the internet, people are posting about freedom and liberty. The U.S. is, after all, the country of liberty for all, right? Or at least, that’s what some people like to say. Kai Wright, on the other hand, recently wrote a post for Colorlines called “How To Celebrate the Fourth of July: Read Frederick Douglass.” His post comments on the U.S.’s history of oppression and reminds that there should be more to the Fourth of July than blind patriotism. Continue reading

The New Jim Crow: The #1 Book I Recommend

Go buy Michelle Alexander‘s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Or check it out from the library, or borrow it from a friend — I don’t really care how you obtain it, but you absolutely should read it. I know I recommend a lot of books, but of all the books I own — of all the books I’ve ever read — if I could only suggest one book, it would be The New Jim CrowContinue reading

My Reading Lists: What I Want To Read

I’ve never been very good about reading one book at a time. There are so many books, and there’s so little time — I’m nearly always in the middle of several books at a time. I’ve recently finished Queer (In)Justice (written by Joey Mogul, Andrea Ritchie, and Kay Whitlock), which I’d strongly recommend to everyone, and I just started Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness yesterday (I can already tell it’s going to be excellent). I’m also in the middle of The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex, by INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, which I’ve been working my way through it for a while nowContinue reading

Today I Went To Prison

I went to a prison for the first time today. I accompanied one of the attorneys for the law project at which I intern on a legal visit to one of our clients. It was horrifying. I am more convinced than ever that something needs to change: the prison industrial complex is just wrong, on so many levels.  Continue reading

This Is Just Wrong

While I was checking Facebook a few minutes ago, I just saw a link to this article and video — “Utah police shot and killed a man within seconds of storming his parents’ home.” I’m not going to summarize the article or what happened; go to the article for that. I honestly don’t know what to say.

On so many levels, there is so much wrong with this. Continue reading

The Most Amazing Person I’ve Ever Met

Owen Daniel-McCarter

Seriously. I know I’ve gone on in the past about various fictional characters and people (David Tennant, Blaine from Glee, Sam Tsui, and the like), but this time, I really mean it. Owen Daniel-McCarter is the most incredible person I’ve ever met (including Dean Spade, and those of you who spent any time near me around the last month or so of my senior year of undergrad know that’s saying a lot). He is just an absolute joy to be around, and he inspires me to be a better person.

Owen founded the Transformative Justice Law Project (TJLP), which provides “free, zealous, life-affirming, and gender-affirming holistic criminal legal services to low-income and street based transgender and gender non-conforming people targeted by the criminal legal system” in the state of Illinois. Continue reading