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Institutions & Practices

UNDERSTANDING HOW CARCERALISM OPERATES

110 posts in ‘Institutions & Practices’

Institutions

Building Carcerality

Architects and designers must reckon with their role in the past and future of mass incarceration.

Dana McKinney White & Lisa Haber-Thomson

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social control

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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Surveillance

For the Public Good

While on parole in Oregon, homelessness, unemployment, and lack of services kept me in survival mode. This is not public safety.

Wesley Vaughan

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first person

Hell Is Real and It Is Beige

Some of the greatest violence of prisons is hidden, in plain view, within their banality.

Vic Liu

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Policing

‘I’m Just Different, That’s All’

We embrace nonconformity in principle—but not for Black men, whose quirks can provoke fear, policing, and punishment.

Monica Bell

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first person

The Banality of Mandatory Surcharges

In New York and elsewhere, exploitative court-ordered fees shouldn't saddle a person who is already poor and criminalized.

Eric Paris Whitfield

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first person

Closed Doors

Prison is no place for grief and closure. Yet even as I mourned, glimmers of love and life surrounded me.

Alexander Bolling

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excerpt

Dare to Report

The D.A.R.E. program turned students into snitches, leading to the arrest and incarceration of friends and loved ones who used drugs.

Max Felker-Kantor

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Policing

The ‘Bad Guys’

Police academies socialize officers into an us-versus-them mentality—particularly when it comes to activists—and harden them to any attempts at reform.

Samantha J. Simon

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law & policy

When the Law Is a Trap

The Prison Rape Elimination Act often revictimizes incarcerated survivors by expanding the power of the prison over them.

E. Zimmerman

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A closer look

Graying in Prison

There's no aging with dignity for people serving extreme sentences. Freeing them is only a start to a deeper paradigm shift.

Wayne Pray

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Policing

Unsafe on Campus

Policing on college campuses falls hardest on formerly incarcerated students, leaving them and the broader community unprotected.

Ryan Flaco Rising

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Big Data

Borders and Bytes

So-called “smart” borders are just more sophisticated sites of racialized surveillance and violence. We need abolitionist tools to counter them.

Ruha Benjamin

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Essay

‘And They Stripped Him’

The Gospel narrative places on Christians a moral burden to not turn away from the sexual vulnerability of incarcerated people today.

Richard X

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book review

Cages Without Borders

A new book centers prisons in the history of U.S. empire, reminding us of the need for international solidarity in the fight for freedom.

Stuart Schrader

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Essay

On Resilience

In the criminal system, having your life constrained and restricted, even after your sentence is over, has become a fact of life.

Jeff Noland

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first person

Censoring Women’s Health

In prison, even learning about your own reproductive health is met with repression.

Kwaneta Harris

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Institutions

The Surreal Prison Censorship Regime

Society isn’t being done any favors keeping literature out of the hands of incarcerated people.

Dylan Jeffrey

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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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activism

Surveil and Conquer

The state spies upon and infiltrates social movements to keep people on guard, afraid, and second-guessing their every move.

Chris Robé

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book review

The Gun of Incarceration

Probation and parole in the United States don’t work. A longtime reformer and advocate has drawn a blueprint to end them.

Cristian Farias

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A closer look

Our Evidence-Based Obsession

Better research won’t get us out of our crisis of mass incarceration.

Jonathan Ben Menachem

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advocacy

Chained by Debt

Erasing court costs and fines is a relatively small change that would have an outsize impact on those harmed by mass incarceration.

Shivani Nishar & Sarah Martino

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public health

Beware the Healthier Cage

In Atlanta politicians are pushing for a bigger jail they claim will be more humane. But health-care workers are pushing back.

Mark Spencer

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excerpt

The Women at the Prison Gates

There are many forms of resistance undertaken by relatives and friends of incarcerated people, but the system renders them invisible.

Gwenola Ricordeau

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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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Surveillance

In the Shadows, on the Radar

The lives of undocumented immigrants are very much documented—subject to the surveillance that’s endemic to contemporary life in the United States.

Asad L. Asad

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advocacy

The Rubik’s Cube of Cop City

The crisis of colonized cities and state criminality. The first installment in a two-part series.

Joy James & Kalonji Jama Changa

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public health

The Essentialism of Addiction

We must challenge the dominant carceral narrative that one is born an addict and a criminal—rather than constructed as one by those in power.

Michelle Smirnova

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public health

The Pain of Punishment

Criminalizing pain medicine has led patients to despair while the carceral state forces their medical decisions. But it has also opened avenues for solidarity between pain sufferers and incarcerated people.

Sonya Huber

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