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Culture & Politics

HOW OUR CULTURE AND OUR POLITICS FUEL MASS INCARCERATION

95 posts in ‘Culture & Politics’

Film review

Big-Screen Abolition

Films that imagine decarceral futures are a cultural antidote for the carceral messages and aesthetics so prevalent in popular media.

Michelle Brown

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Q&A

Picturing the Crisis

A new book uses art to make the horrors of mass incarceration as visual, and visceral, as possible.

Vic Liu, James Kilgore & Adam McGee

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culture

A Narrative of Control

Mass incarceration rests on false narratives that carceral institutions themselves control. But some of us are fighting back.

Lyle C. May

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voices

National Poetry Month: Wayne Grant

“The Names They Call Us”

Wayne Grant

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voices

National Poetry Month: Alexander Gallet

“Prisoner of Poetry”

Alexander Gallet

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Essay

Hip Hop Is My Life

I spit bars on Death Row to preserve the legacy of our people, what’s been done to us, and how we’ve fought back.

Alim Braxton

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voices

National Poetry Month: Brandon Callender

“Incarcerated Slavery” & “2 crack a smile”

Brandon Callender

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voices

Ink from Honey

In the introduction to our National Poetry Month series, an incarcerated poet reflects on how writing is helping him reclaim the story of his life.

Amos Don

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voices

National Poetry Month: Amos Don

“Don Haitian Monument” & “The Hunters”

Amos Don

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In Depth

Sticking with the Sex

From sex work to sex offender registries, a queer politics requires that we end state practices of sex exceptionalism.

Joseph J. Fischel

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campaigns

Disrupting Carceral Narratives

There can be justice beyond punishment. To realize it, we must challenge the narrative that carceral violence is the only response to other forms of violence.

Charlene Allen & Cameron Rasmussen

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public history

Imprisoned by War

Racialized and violent, modern U.S. warmaking is inextricably linked with our history of mass incarceration.

Jason A. Higgins

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activism

Gay Liberation and the Carceral State

Recovering a vision of queer solidarity with incarcerated people may just be what people disaffected by the gay rights movement need today.

Michael Bronski

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advocacy

Philly’s Safe Consumption Fight

Public skepticism about scientific research, coupled with echoes of the war on drugs, have hindered our city’s ability to respond to our overdose crisis.

Shoshana Aronowitz

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Crimmigration

Decriminalizing Migration

Taking criminal law out of immigration enforcement is a step toward safer, healthier communities. But is it enough?

Cristian Farias

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book review

Outsmarting a Monster

Jails are everywhere, trapping people and resources belonging to communities. And everywhere, there are organizers contesting that reality.

Charlotte Rosen

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activism

No Killing Revolutionary Hope

The oral histories of political prisoners shed light on their true character—and expose the darkness of the state.

Josh Davidson & Eric King

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campaigns

Beauty on the Inside

A look at how decarceral, abolitionist filmmaking can help us envision new worlds.

Sylvia Ryerson, Andy Myers, Adamu Chan & Andrew Crespo

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recommendations

The Year in Books

As 2023 draws to a close, a look back at the books that informed, inspired, and empowered us to work for a world without mass incarceration.

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public history

The Suburban Drug War

How white, middle-class youth in the suburbs experienced the war on drugs is a largely untold chapter in the arc of mass incarceration.

Matthew D. Lassiter

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campaigns

Renewing New Orleans

Anti-jail organizers scored important wins in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. But their fight isn’t over.

Lydia Pelot-Hobbs

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Politics

A Defense of Public Defender Funding

Unless Congress acts, funding for federal public defenders will take a serious hit, with disastrous consequences for the people they represent.

Judith Miller

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campaigns

Ending Carceral Censorship

Censorship should not be the mechanism by which prisons ensure security or any other goal they purport to have.

Moira Marquis

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collective action

Imprisoned but United

How the peaceful takeover of Walpole prison in 1973 holds lessons for abolitionists today.

Thomas Dichter

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first person

Envisioning Futures

The art of knowing what we’re confronting and revealing who is being made invisible by the carceral state.

Maria Gaspar & Gina Dent

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campaigns

Do You Know Their Names?

When slain by police, Black women and girls rarely garner the same communal outcry or political response as their fallen Black brothers.

Kimberlé W. Crenshaw

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Film review

Reframing Our Outrage

A new film reminds us that caring about survivors means working to prevent and respond to all violence—including carceral violence.

Ieshaah Murphy

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Essay

The Power of Fiction

More people impacted by the criminal legal system can and should share their stories through fiction—and through those stories change minds and public policy.

B.L. Blanchard

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public history

Urban Warfare and Corporate-Funded Armies

Atlanta’s Cop City is another chapter in the long history of U.S.-based colonialism. The second installment in a two-part series.

Joy James & Kalonji Jama Changa

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activism

Quashing Dissent

Critical infrastructure laws are cynical attempts by corporations to manipulate public fears of terrorism to protect their own profits.

Bill Quigley

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