Recommended required reading:
The Perpetual Prisoner Machine: How America Profits From Crime
The Rich Get Richer and The Poor Get Prison: Ideology, Class, and Criminal Justice
Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis
Prison Nation: The Warehousing of America’s Poor
The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with 738 people per 100,000 behind bars (2005). There is speculation that China may have a slightly higher rate due to jailing of political dissidents, but so far just speculation.
A 2008 study found that more than 1 in 100 American adults are in prison or jail. One in every 31 adults (7.3 million) is in prison, or on parole or probation. One out every 45 whites is under some form of correctional control- and one out of every 11 blacks. 1 in 18 men and 1 in 89 women (races combined). Spending on corrections has risen by 400% in the last 20 years, outpacing all but Medicaid in growth.
The prison population has exploded in recent decades- a phenomenon known as “hyperincarceration,” even though violent crime, “serious crime,” and property crime has been declining:
The scope of this problem is difficult to overstate- especially because it necessarily includes things like prison gerrymandering, police militarization, mandatory minimum sentences, “tough on crime” politicians, for-profit incarceration, and all sorts of other things including guys with mansions talking about “2 Americas.” This is generally known as the Prison-Industrial Complex, or as I (and others) call it- the Machine.
What don’t you understand? Why don’t you believe?
What more do I have to show you to make you believe?
Tanks crushing cars. Houses burned to the ground while children look on. Puppies thrown into fires while children look on. Newborn babies brain-damaged or snuffed out while their mother is shackled to a bed with a sheet up so she can’t see her baby she just gave birth to.
Black guys picking cotton at gunpoint in LA. Swarms of rats chewing off fingers & eyes in IL. Indefinite sensory deprivation. Bags of feces thrown on people in VA. Arms held out of feeding-slots to shatter elbows in VA. Pregnant women beaten so hard the braces get knocked off their teeth in TX. Men forced to fight to the death in gladiator matches in CA. Men shot for sport in CA. Men overcrowded at 300% capacity nationwide. Children given life sentences without the possibility of parole- nationwide. HIV+ inmates beaten and sent to sensory-deprivation isolation with biohazard stencils and no medical treatment. Men put in sensory-deprivation isolation for up to 36 years with no contact with the outside world (including lawyers). Secret medical experiments performed on thousands of inmates in PA. Cops running brutal abuse schemes and creating their own gangs in NY. Penises amputated in WA. Feces mixed into food in CO. These are just the things which I’ve provided links to on major news outlets in this subforum in the past few weeks.
Stomping on an inmate’s head until he involuntarily soils his pants. 41 shots on the street to kill an unarmed man. Executing a cuffed man in front of 100 witnesses and cameras. The countless videos of abuse inside prison walls and the countless more off-camera.
The tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of rapes inside each and every year. The brutal, life-altering rape every four minutes.
Love one another. For God’s sake, or whatever you believe in- just love one another. No matter how angry or outraged or just joking about it- whatever you do whoever and wherever you are just do this one thing. We are dying. You are dying. We are being tortured, we are in indescribable pain and hopeless despair. We are you. You lose your humanity when we get gangraped. You are us. We’re all in this together.
Cry with us, bleed with us, scream with us.
It’s us. All of us- you are us. We are us. We’re all human, we’re all Life.
All of us.
Here are some links to activist/outreach organizations:
Prison Activist Resource Center
Justice Policy Institute
Penal Reform International
The Center for Prisoner Health & Human Rights(created by doctors who visited a prison and discovered that instead of treating inmates with HIV/AIDS they just stenciled biohazard symbols on their jumpsuits & put them in seg)
The Sentencing Project
Commission on Safety & Abuse in American Prisons
Prison Policy Initiative
Death Penalty Focus
California Prison Focus
Middle Ground(AZ prison reform)
CAADP(AZ death penalty abolition)