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Culture & Politics

HOW OUR CULTURE AND OUR POLITICS FUEL MASS INCARCERATION

83 posts in ‘Culture & Politics’

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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book review

What the Rebellion Taught Us

For a moment, the George Floyd uprising made the white supremacist power structure tremble. Let's hold on to that and carry it forward.

David Campbell

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abolition

Stories That Wound

The gendered norms of U.S. settler colonialism subject Indigenous and LGBTQ+ people to the violence of our cisheteropatriarchal carceral state.

E Ornelas

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Essay

The Recall: Reframed

A short film asks how we can offer justice for survivors of sexual violence without perpetuating the harms of mass incarceration.

Rebecca Richman Cohen

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collective action

Building Worker Power

How one labor union in New York is organizing and creating solidarity among formerly incarcerated workers—and winning.

Bernard Callegari & Han Lu

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public history

The House of D

In the history of a shuttered lockup for queer women in New York City, a reminder that incarceration has always been a form of social control.

Hugh Ryan

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abolition

Slave Rebel or Citizen?

Abolitionist Ruchell Cinqué Magee is the country’s longest-held political prisoner.

Joy James & Kalonji Jama Changa

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advocacy

The Art of Freedom

How two formerly incarcerated artists are creating a community for people like them—and exposing mass incarceration through it.

Jesse Krimes, Russell Craig, Makeda Best & Premal Dharia

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organizing

An Organized Community

ICE entanglement in local law enforcement is just one iteration of a bigger system meant to police our communities. And we can fight it.

Felicia Arriaga

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In Their Words

A Community Judge

As a newly elected judge assigned to misdemeanor court in Los Angeles, a former public defender sees her new role as serving those impacted by the system.

Holly Hancock

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Primary sources

A Platform for Prison Witness

“Including incarcerated people in national debates is not just about changing policies. It’s about creating a transformative learning experience.”

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Politics

Mass Incarceration on the Cheap

Fiscal arguments have only led to a reconfigured carceral state—one that replaces one type of punishment for another while still harming millions.

Jarrod Shanahan & Zhandarka Kurti

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Ideas & Essays

The Alchemy of Abolitionisms

When academics are read more than incarcerated thinkers, it becomes possible to forget the movement’s radical roots.

Joy James

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