Stuff White People Say

December 15, 2009

Addicted to Incarceration

Filed under: Uncategorized — jwbe @ 7:54 pm

The Cost of Incarceration

“The Cost of Incarceration” is an eight-part occasional series written by Patrice Gaines, former Washington Post reporter; author and co-founder of The Brown Angel Center, a program in Charlotte, N.C. that helps formerly incarcerated women become financially independent. Gaines received a 2009 Soros Justice Media Fellowship from the Open Society Institute to research and write articles on the impact of mass incarceration on the Black community. The National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service has agreed to make this exclusive series available to its membership of more than 200 Black-owned newspapers.

Part I:
WASINGTON (NNPA) – In communities around the country, Black people are missing. Neighborhoods languish.

Dreams deferred rot in distant warehouses we call prisons. The similarities between the correctional system and slavery are eerie: Families ripped apart. Traditions lost or never made. The shipment of flesh, the pipeline that nearly guarantees Black children go from the cradle to the prison; the insane profits made by warehousing human beings; the burden borne forever by those labeled as “convicts.”

Today, a brutal recession which dictates the need to cut budgets and proof that mass incarceration does not reduce crime is changing conversations in legislative halls around the country. Some politicians, who in the past have only paid attention to fearful constituents who want to make sure people who commit crimes are locked up, are beginning to consider alternatives to imprisonment.

Meanwhile prison reform advocates are wondering if a Black president and a Black attorney general means a quicker end to the disparity in incarceration between Blacks and whites.

Prison “was never a tool to fight crime. It is an instrument to manage deprived and dishonored populations, which is quite a different task,” says Loic Wacquant, a renowned ethnographer and social theorist who teaches at the University of California at Berkeley.

Rest of Article

Links to part II and III:
Part II: The Curse of Mandatory Minimums
Part III: The Conspiracy Charge Traps Women


  1. America is the prison house of nations.

    This includes:

    -A massive Prison Industrial Complex that imprisons more people than other nation on the planet. A disproportionate number of the people imprisioned by America are (surprise, surprise) not White.

    -A burgeoning immigrant detention work that is beginning to rival the USA’s traditional prison system

    -A global system of American military prisons ranging from the USA’s Gitmo Gulag and Bagram miliary base to secret US CIA “black sites” around the world.

    Yet many Americans pathetically still lie to themselves that their empire is some kind of Beacon of Liberty.

    Welcome to America’s global gulag.

    “Today, the United States presides over a burgeoning empire — not only the “empire of bases” first described by Chalmers Johnson, but a far-flung new network of maximum security penitentiaries, detention centers, jail cells, cages, and razor wire-topped pens. From supermax-type isolation prisons in 40 of the 50 states to shadowy ghost jails at remote sites across the globe, this new network of detention facilities is quite unlike the gulags, concentration-camps, or prison nations of the past.”

    from: American Prison Planet

    US prison population at record high

    Homeland Gitmos

    Welcome to the world of immigration detention, where over 32,000 immigrants are detained on any given day.

    Comment by Lxy — December 17, 2009 @ 6:56 am | Reply

  2. >Yet many Americans pathetically still lie to themselves that their empire is some kind of Beacon of Liberty.

    yes, and the scary thing is America’s power (and nuclear weapons) and her allies eager to please.

    Comment by jwbe — December 18, 2009 @ 8:12 pm | Reply

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