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Culture & Politics

HOW OUR CULTURE AND OUR POLITICS FUEL MASS INCARCERATION

89 posts in ‘Culture & Politics’

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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organizing

Harnessing Union Power for Public Defense

As public defenders, we are not “fighting the system”—we are the system. Because of this, we have power, and the numbers, to change it.

Kiyomi Bolick

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Politics

Lessons from Ohio’s Bail Backlash

Fearmongering about public safety played a major role in the state’s midterm setback. But we can learn from it how to take control of the political narrative.

Nikki Baszynski

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punishment theory

Unraveling Carceral Feminism

The push to increase the state’s power to punish led to more incarceration but failed to create a more just society for victims of sexual violence.

Alice Ievins

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excerpt

Defending Attica

How radical lawyers played a key role standing up for survivors of the Attica uprising.

Luca Falciola

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voices

Poetry from Attica

From Celes Tisdale's creative writing workshop with Attica Uprising survivors.

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activism

Black Power Meets Police Power

The experiences of Michael and Zoharah Simmons show that the fight against the carceral state is embedded in a larger project of building a just world.

Dan Berger

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legal history

Blood in the Borderlands

Mexicans and Mexican Americans have long been targets of legal and extralegal violence by the police. Learning this history is a step toward ending abuses that persist to this day.

Brian Behnken

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Media

Justice and Journalism

How we're helping journalists report more deeply, more precisely, and more carefully on the law, on the criminal system, and towards justice.

Cherri Gregg & Sam Fulwood III

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excerpt

A Point of No Return

Understanding the past of the Cook County Jail is understanding its present.

Melanie Newport

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Photo Essay

Archives of Resistance

The movement to end police violence has a rich visual history. In Brooklyn, a collective of volunteers is doing its part to preserve it.

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Reflections

Reshaping Our Wanting

There is a place for desire in an abolitionist world, at least when desire is pleasure and love and freedom.

El Jones

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In Depth

To Free Them All

The carceral system criminalizes and retraumatizes survivors at every step. Dismantling these structures is the only way to end this violence.

Leigh Goodmark

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Reflections

Goodnight Jail

Based on 'Goodnight Moon', the 1947 bedtime classic by Margaret Wise Brown.

El Jones

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excerpt

Repression and Backlash

The tangle of policy responses following the 2020 uprisings over police violence shows that both Republicans and Democrats failed to meet the moment.

Elizabeth Hinton

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campaigns

Meeting the Moment

As a lifelong public defender, I ran to become Santa Clara County’s next district attorney. I didn’t win, but our movement did.

Sajid Khan

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democracy & power

Culture Wars and Criminalization

Absent a sustained politics of solidarity, culture wars will continue to erode civil rights while criminalizing, surveilling, and punishing those who claim them

Kay Whitlock

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Policy

Decarcerating from Within

Here's how imprisoned writers can offer reasoned analysis on policies affecting the carceral state.

Tomas Keen & Atif Rafay

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In Depth

Hidden Transcripts

The Reagan administration’s entrenchment of a retaliatory immigration detention regime sowed seeds of resistance that persist to this day.

Kristina Shull

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interventions

Nullifying Dobbs

Jurors’ conscientious refusal to convict people charged for violating abortion bans is perfectly legal — and what justice demands.

Peter N. Salib & Guha Krishnamurthi

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In Depth

Federal Time

Congress' rush to respond to recent mass shootings will criminalize Black and Brown communities the hardest, repeating historic mistakes that contributed to mass incarceration.

Kyana Givens, Michael Carter & Laura Ginsberg Abelson

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Reflections

Juneteenth and Black Liberation

Our government's history of oppression compels us to free those Black revolutionaries aging in our prisons.

Nebil Husayn

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Policing

Shattering Broken Windows

For decades, policing so-called ‘quality of life’ issues has had devastating effects. This approach must cease to exist.

Katherine Beckett

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democracy & power

Changing Everything

Beyond electing progressive prosecutors, decarceration requires an ambitious, multifaceted struggle at all levels of governance.

Dan Berger

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democracy & power

After the Backlash

Understanding the democratic appeal of retrenchment and reaction to movements for racial justice has never been more urgent.

Aziz Huq

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