Good Magazine created a short “transparency” to highlight the expansion of prisons in the U.S. Here’s how they introduced their work:
There are currently more than 2.3 million people incarcerated in the United States. What does that look like, exactly? That’s equivalent to putting the combined populations of Miami, Las Vegas, and Minneapolis behind bars. Why is our penal system broken? How do we stack up against other countries? We take a closer look at prisons in our latest Transparency.
Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for posting this short video on his blog. I keep railing against the so-called War on Drugs and its direct connection to decimating communities of color. This video does a fantastic job of focusing on the facts of that case.
Just this month, the Center for Economic and Policy Research published a report that is a MUST READ for anyone who is interested in issues associated with mass incarceration. The report called “The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration” suggests that:
“a reduction by one-half in the incarceration rate of non-violent offenders would lower correctional expenditures by $16.9 billion per year and return the U.S. to about the same incarceration rate we had in 1993 (which was already high by historical standards)…As a group, state governments could save $7.6 billion, while local governments could save $7.2 billion.”
Most importantly the report says that “a review of the extensive research on incarceration and crime suggests that these savings could be achieved without any appreciable deterioration in public safety.”
The report can be found here and it is well worth reading in its entirety.
Please note that I added the caption to this infographic because it does beg the question: “How many of these players are black or brown?” I imagine that most of them are. As such, instead of being a “joke,” this infographic takes on added significance. It speaks to the fact that even famous black and brown athletes cannot escape the “racialized surveillance” that people of color are subjected to in the U.S. Hat tip to my friend Erica Meiners for advancing this concept of “racialized surveillance” in her book “Right to Be Hostile.”
This important new book is definitely worth reading if you care about issues related to mass incarceration. Gottschalk’s most salient point in the review is:
“Perkinson upends the conventional narrative of the rise of the American penal system with its emphasis on the northeast, notably New York and Pennsylvania. In the standard account, the foreboding penitentiaries of the nineteenth century, designed to restore errant citizens to virtue through penitent solitude, evolved by fits and starts into the correctional bureaucracies of the twentieth century, which, at least for a time, viewed rehabilitating prisoners as a central part of their mission. Perkinson suggests that the history of punishment in the United States is more a southern story than has been generally recognized. He contends that Texas developed an alternative “control model” of punishment that was unapologetically premised on officially sanctioned violence, strident exploitation of penal labor, a strong retributive urge, and stark racial stratification.”
Perkins’s book really does revise my own personal understanding about this history of the rise of prisons in the United States. This was the biggest take-away for me from the book. Texas Tough is well-researched and at times gruesome as Perkins describes truly horrific practices that have and continue to take place in Texas “correctional” institutions.
In the upcoming days, this site will catalogue some of the information that I come across as I research the way that the prison industrial complex intersects with all aspects of U.S. culture. I hope to blog about interesting articles that I have read and to include new resources that I find useful. I will also use this site as a way to document how the prison industrial complex operates and the ways that it is impacting U.S. society.
Every great man, every successful man, no matter what the field of endeavor, has known the magic that lies in these words: every adversity has the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.
W. Clement Stone
WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Office of Justice Programs' National Institute of Justice (NIJ) today announced it has awarded nearly $63 million to school districts and research organizations through the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative (CSSI). CSSI is a large-scale, multi-agency research effort to build knowledge about e
WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Office of Justice Programs' Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) today announced more than $7 million in awards to 17 communities impacted by persistent violent and serious crime. The awards, administered through the BJA's Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI) Program, will employ data-drive
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee officials plan to beef up security at a juvenile detention center where three major escape attempts in less than a month have worried the facility's neighbors, but they also want to keep the it from becoming too much like an adult prison.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 29, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) Office of Justice Programs (OJP) today announced more than $17 million in Fiscal Year 2014 grant assistance for states, territories, tribal governments and other entities to use to implement, enhance and maintain sex offender programming throughout the United St
WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) today released Managing the Boundary between Public and Private Policing, the latest addition to the New Perspectives in Policing Series, a new paper in the series from the Harvard Executive Sessions on Policing and Public Safety. Initiated
WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a renewed private-public partnership, the Office of Justice Programs' Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation are jointly providing $2 million to advance juvenile justice reform."Every youth who enters the juvenile ju
PENDLETON, Ore., Sept. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Justice today announced the awarding of 169 grants to American Indian tribes, Alaska Native villages, tribal consortia and tribal designees. The grants will provide more than $87 million to enhance law enforcement practices and sustain crime prevention and intervention efforts in ni
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) continues to oppose the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) from 15 years old to 13-year-olds, saying this will oversimplify the nature of juvenile offending. Aside from this, the CHR said that subjecting 13-year-olds to criminal liability violates the fundamental principles of child protection a
Senate Republicans on Monday fell two votes short of overriding Gov. Maggie Hassan's veto of a bill aimed at addressing problems within the state's juvenile justice system. Hours before the vote, Hassan ...
Three days after 32 teenagers escaped from a Tennessee juvenile detention center, two dozen teens broke out into the yard, creating a disturbance before dawn Thursday. Some of the youths involved had been returned after Monday’s escape from the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center in Nashville. Ten leaders of Thursday’s disturbance were relocated to anoth