I saw this beautiful image by artist Molly Crabapple and it is seared in my mind and has imprinted itself on my heart. I have looked at it a lot this week. I think it’s because I recognize the women on the line. I’m sure that I’ve never met any of them in person but I have… It’s difficult to explain and I am feeling particularly inarticulate today. I will revisit the emotions and thoughts that the image has triggered at a later date. But for today, I just wanted to share this.
Youth activists from Fearless Leading by the Youth (F.L.Y.) and their supporters held a rally and press conference this morning to demand that funds be re-directed from incarceration to restorative justice efforts and other positive youth interventions. The rally took place at the Cook County Offices downtown to coincide with the monthly board meeting. The rally marked the 6th year anniversary of FLY and the Audy Home Campaign.
Some of the youth dressed as prisoners to make the point that the $40 million spent by Cook County to jail youth at a cost of over $500 a day would be better & more effectively spent at the community level providing needed resources.
“Cook County Board members are failing our youth, incarcerating youth isn’t working, and it is wasting money,” said youth activist and former detainee of the Cook County Temporary Juvenile Detention Center Auntraney Carter. “We are outraged that that as our friends die the county’s only response is to increase spending on juvenile detention.” (Source)
I’ve written a few times about the youth-led Audy Home Campaign on this blog. The Campaign is organizing a rally on July 31st.
Below is the annoucement:
Youth violence continues because of the lack of positive investments in our youth.
JOIN US TO RALLY TO STOP THE VIOLENCE &
DEMAND YOUTH INVESTMENT
Wed. July 31
10am at 118 N. Clark Street
Catch the Bus at 9:00am at 602 E 61st ST
The Detention Center Spends over $40M each year locking up youth, we are holding a rally to demand that money be reinvested in restorative justice programs in the neighborhoods where youth are getting locked up.
We need your voice! Join us!
This rally will take place on FLY and the Audy Home Campaign’s 6th Year Anniversary.
The following ad comes from a 1943 magazine (2 years before the end of World War II). It is an advertisement for the Van Dorn Iron Works Co. which was apparently “the largest jail builder in America.” Interestingly the ad links prisons with the military industrial complex:
“You never expected to find a solution to one of your postwar problems in a jail cell, did you? But there’s one here for you if you are looking for new ways of building endurance into your products of the future…Jail cell construction is only one phase of Van Dorn production. Today, we are 100% engaged in building armor plate for plans, tanks, and guns.”
In case it’s illegible on the map, they seem to have built cells in the following jails/prisons across the U.S.:
1. Maine State Prison (280 cells)
2. Auburn State Prison (1514 cells)
3. Maryland Penitentiary (820 cells)
4. West Virginia Penitentiary (608 cells)
5. Bibb County Jail, Georgia (131 cells)
6. Nebraska State Prison (301 cells)
7. King County Jail, Seattle (100 cells)
8. Salt Lake City Jail (35 cells)
9. San Quentin State Prison, Calif (800 cells)
The Gregory Brothers strike again with this very good music video documenting the fact that the war on drugs is a failure.
The Huffington Post did a good job yesterday reporting on the costs of the so-called “war on drugs:”
Despite an increased emphasis on treatment and prevention programs in recent years, the Obama administration in its 2013 budget still requested $25.6 billion in federal spending on the drug war. Of that, $15 billion would go to law enforcement, interdiction and international efforts.
The pro-reform Drug Policy Alliance estimates that when you combine state and local spending on everything from drug-related arrests to prison, the total cost adds up to at least $51 billion per year. Over four decades, the group says, American taxpayers have dished out $1 trillion on the drug war.
Once again, the terrifically talented Sarah Jane Rhee was present with her camera at Wednesday’s Chicago School Closings Protest. I have selected some of the photographs that illustrate the message that we need to fund schools rather than prisons/jails.
Fund Schools Not Jails!
March 27, 2013
Erica R. Meiners is a Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Education at Northeastern Illinois University. She is the author of Right to be hostile: schools, prisons and the making of public enemies (2009) and articles exploring the school to prison pipeline. She is a member of her labor union, University Professionals of Illinois, and actively involved in a number of non-traditional and popular education projects including an anti-prison teaching collective (Chicago PIC Teaching Collective) and the Chicagoland Researchers and Advocates for Transformative Education (CReATE) and she is currently teaching classes at Stateville Prison and St. Leonard’s Adult High School.
Thousands of people converged downtown today to speak back to Chicago’s unelected school board against the proposed closure of fifty-four public schools in Black neighborhoods. Amidst the colorful and pithy signs held up by teachers, parents, and young people my favorite (topping even the signs from the fall 2012 Chicago Teacher’s Union strike proclaiming Rahm loves Nickelback) was Fund Schools Not Jails!
While it might appear that the struggle to shutter our prisons, to decriminalize marijuana and sex work, or to release people from prison early on “good time,” is disconnected from the fight to keep open and fully funded high quality neighborhood schools in Black communities, the two are intimately linked.
Read more »
2. We spend a lot of money to incarcerate young people.
3. “The youth incarceration rate in the nation dropped 37 percent from 1995 to 2010. In 1995, 107,637 young people were held in correctional facilities on a single reference day, while in 2010, this number had dropped to 70,792, the lowest in 35 years. The rate of youth in confinement dropped from 381 per 100,000 to 225 per 100,000 over the same period. But the United States still incarcerates a higher percentage of its young people than any other industrialized country — in 2002 the nation’s youth incarceration rate was almost five times that of South Africa, the nation with the next highest rate. Most of the young people incarcerated do not pose a clear public safety threat: almost 40 percent are incarcerated for nonviolent reasons such as status offenses, public order offenses, low-level property offenses, drug possession, or technical probation violations, while only about one quarter are incarcerated for a Violent Crime Index offense (homicide, aggravated assault, robbery, sexual assault). (Source).”
4. According to the ACLU, “In 2011, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) held a record-breaking 429,000 immigrants in over 250 facilities across the country, and currently maintains a daily capacity of 33,400 beds—even though, in the overwhelming majority of cases, detention is not necessary to effect deportations and does not make us any safer.”
7. The PIC is very costly. Preliminary data from the Census Bureau’s annual State Government Finance Census indicate states spent $48.5 billion on corrections in 2010, about 6% less than in 2009. Between 1982 and 2001, total state corrections expenditures increased each year, rising from $15.0 billion to $53.5 billion in real dollars.
Stop and Frisk is a policing tactic that is used across the U.S. but particularly in New York City. The practice criminalizes mostly young Black and Latino people.
For the next several weeks, I will be devoting most Tuesdays to posting something about the failed drug war. Today, I am posting this self-explanatory graphic to illustrate the racist part of the drug war.
The following video clip of Eugene Jarecki (director of the excellent documentary, The House I Live In) illustrates the “failed” part of the drug war.