Week 13 Discussion Prompt: Global Prisons and Abolition

How can we think about the histories of prisons as a part of the history of globalization? Use specific examples from the Davis book to illustrate this.

What do you think about the concept of prison abolition? Is it desirable? Possible?


84 thoughts on “Week 13 Discussion Prompt: Global Prisons and Abolition”

  1. When I think about the history of prisons as a part of the history of globalization, two major events discussed in Angela Davis’ Are Prisons Obsolete? stand out to me. The first is colonialism and its effects left on society today. Early colonizers had African slaves for centuries. Slaves barely had any rights, were seen as lesser than, and were considered property of the white man. Through slavery, racism was instilled within institutions. People were accustomed to being better than black folk and this created all sorts of tension. When reforms and movements regarding the abolition of slavery and creating more equal opportunities for all began to be seen, outrage ensued…because racism had already set foot and was instilled within white folk’s everyday lives and institutions. Black people were unjustly victimized to a large extent and had to abide by several unnecessary petty restrictions and laws without argument. Whether people may want to believe it or not, prisons are racist institutions and Davis argues this well within her book.
    Another event is the buying out of prisons from corporations. For decades, corporations, governments, and prison officials have been working together to make maximum profit and benefits off of the incarceration of inmates. Davis states that “we live in an era of corporations. In order to escape organized labor in this country-and thus higher wages, benefits, and so on- corporations roam the world in search of nations providing cheap labor pools” (p.16). This is true. Capitalism and neoliberal approaches have advanced tremendously throughout the history of globalization. Corporations look for ways to stick their hands in something that could potentially benefit them and produce maximum profit. These corporations and governments depend on the constant flow and stay of inmates so they can receive profit from them. “Longer prison terms mean greater profits, but the larger point is that the profit motive promotes the expansion of imprisonment.” (p. 37). Police are urged to be tough on crime. This results in overcrowding therefore, the expansion of prisons and ultimately more reason to incarcerate more people for petty crimes.

    At first, the concept of prison abolition seemed impossible, too radical, and insane. Though, this was before I read up on the topic, became more educated on it, and before I read Angela Davis’ Are Prisons Obsolete? As Davis stated, it is hard for us to even imagine a life without punishment because this is how it has been for centuries. We are used to the phrase “crime AND punishment.” This is why we must understand the many solutions to abolishing prisons altogether. Yes, I may still have my doubts about what would be done to certain offenders because every case is different and truth be told there are some people who just cannot be rehabilitated. But Davis makes excellent points throughout the final chapter in her book. We must remove prisons from the ideological landscapes in our society to even consider alternatives. This can be and should be done because ultimately, prisons do more harm than good for all except those who profit from it. This is a matter of educating the public through advocacy and campaigning. Through the creation and implementation of Davis’ alternative solutions, I really do believe crime could reduce drastically, though this effect probably will not be seen for several more years.

    1. Even after I had read the book, the concept of prison abolition seemed impossible to me because it is not in the interest of large corporations and politicians. They continuously seek to increase their profits through new laws, agendas, little to no rehabilitation and education, etc which allows them to keep the criminals in jail. Therefore, although I think that alternatives presented by Davis are much better and more desirable than imprisonment, I do not think they will be able to takeover the prison system already in place.

    2. Hi Leticia!

      I really enjoyed reading your post. Your connection between the history of prisons and globalization was very clear and was a great summary of these histories. I thought your take on whether the concept of prison abolishment was desirable and/or possible was interesting. I definitely understand your perspective on this issue, but I think that it is unrealistic to think that prisons can be abolished. Corporations are making large amounts of money off of the prison industry and Davis’ alternative ideas are good in theory, but I do not think that we will ever see them completely be used as there are so many other issues that need to be taken into consideration. Overall, I thought your post brought a different perspective than mine and made me think about the discussion in a different way.

    3. Hi Leticia,

      I really enjoyed reading your response. And I completely agree with you on the point you made that “we must remove prisons from the ideological landscapes in our society to even consider alternatives.” Since nowadays prisons have become a way for the big companies to generate profit rather than focusing on the individual correction.

    4. Leticia, I enjoyed reading your post, particularly in regards to the abolition of prisons. I agree that there is no single solution, and that it starts with educating the public through advocacy and campaigning. I like how you are optimistic and believe that crime can be reduced drastically through implementing Davis’ alternative solutions. Through my other classes, I have learned that these alternative solutions are being discussed and sought out among many other scholars and activists; it’s just a matter of making this issue mainstream.

    5. Hi Leticia,

      I enjoyed reading your post. Yes, I do agree with your post and I was suprised to find out that lot of our prisions are built and regulated by big corporates, to gain business and profits. I absolutely dont like the idea of it, and like its pointed out in the book longer prison term means more profit. (Every thing is about finacial gain.

    6. In my major of criminal justice, we learn obviously about prisons but alternative ways than incarceration. I think for smaller crimes there are better ways to introduce justice back into society than to alienate the offender and seperate him for the neighborhood. Particularly if they are younger offenders but either way, its important to show justice and inprisonment. Great write up!

    7. Hi Leticia,
      I enjoyed reading your post, it is great that it shows different perspectives while providing supportive ideas behind each idea. However, I think that the idea of prison abolition would only work in theory, it wouldn’t work if it was actually put in real life.

    8. The similarities between the abolition movement against slavery and the abolition movement against prisons have many similarities, primarily in the way people perceive the institution’s necessity to keep society from collapsing. Even in my mind before class, abolishing prisons seemed impossible and that we would be letting murderers roam freely without punishment. However, when the reality of prisons was reviled and the studies showing rehabilitation is more effective than punishment, abolition made sense to me.

    9. Hi Leticia:

      I totally agree with your argument that we can not imagine our lives without prisons because this is the punishment that will be punish in away the criminals. Plus, I agree that some of criminals that they can not go through rehabilitation as will the punishment so it must be alternatives or other solutions for punishment. With the advocacy of people who knows what they will do in order to reduce prisons. Well Done!

    10. I agree, I think the biggest thing in the way of change is the idea that life without something (slavery, prisons) is not possible, but as we have seen with slavery it was possible to get rid of.

  2. I think because of globalization, many things have changed and are continuously changing. I think we now live in a world, where everything we do, we are trying to gain financial advantage. The two specific examples, which were discussed in Angela Davis “Are Prisons Obsolete?” were the concept of buying out prisons by the rich corporates and how colonialism is affecting the society today. For many years, officials such as big corporations and private companies have been working together to buy out prison in order to maximize the profit. When prisons are made private the private officials are in charge, therefore their goals is to maximize the prisoners in a minimum amount of space. Angela states that we live in an era of corporation. Everything we are doing is for our own financial gain. When prisons are made private these corporations and private companies are depending on the number of inmates in each prison, so they can receive maximum amount of profits. “Longer prison terms means greater profits” as stated by Angela Davis. Another concept the book talks about is how much colonialism has and is affecting the society today. It is mentioned the book that slaves in the early ages were tortured very much in our history. They had no rights, no freedom, and bottom of the food chain. Due to colonization and globalization, there were rules and laws that were placed, which banned any discrimination against slavery. However there were many people that did not agree with these changes, because the custom of slavery was in place for so long. People were treated very unfairly before, and just like the prison system today, slavery was there to provide maximize profits for the country. I think the concept of prison abolition is great, however there are many I think do not approve of this. In my opinion I don’t think prison is a place to make profits. I believe prisons are there so the criminals are able to have a distance from the rest of the society, as well as learn educational things while they are doing their time. I think as soon as we think of a prison as a business, the whole system will crack. I think it will be very difficult for corporation or any private companies to get their hands out of this kinds of business, because there is so much money in stake. .

    1. Hey Alisha,

      thanks for sharing your opinion on abolition of slavery in the United States. I think you did a good job pointing out the neoliberal and neoclonial implications of the issue. I agree with you that privatizing prisons will turn the institution into another way to maximize profit by exploiting the human rights of the prisoners. I like how you pulled the quote “Longer prison terms means greater profits” to explain neoliberal concept of privatizing prisons. Good job including contrasting viewpoint to your stance on abolition of prisons.

    2. Hi Alisha,
      I enjoyed reading your post though I must disagree with you and say that prison is a place for profit. Many private prisons are already in place and its a desirable place for corporations to get their hands in…whether it be selling prisons furniture, hygenic goods, technology. Also, yes, some prisons provide educational services like the GED programs but there are several that do not and the prisoners do not get adequate programming. There is a lack of rehabiliation within all prisons in my opinion. That is just how I see it but I can see where you are coming from as well! Well done!

    3. Hi Alisha,
      I agree with what you have said above. I do think that criminals, depending on the level of crime, should be removed from society. With that being said I do not feel as though prisons should be viewed a way to make a profit. Rather they should work to help the prisoner, and thus help society overall. I think you use some great examples from the book to support your views.

  3. The prison system within the United States mirrors the history of globalization. One of the more obvious examples that depicts this similarity is the movement towards privatization of prisons and the overall “prison industrial complex.” Like many public programs, the prison system is becoming privatized. This goes beyond just private prisons, and includes corporations who fund other aspects of public prisons, including the food and healthcare. Much like the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex is a cycle that looks to keep prisoners within the system instead of rehabilitation. In fact, the Corrections Corporation of America makes money per prisoner within their detention centers (p. 37). This means that it is financially advantageous to have a high recidivism rate. To achieve their goal of not rehabilitating the prisoners, the United States government, under President Ronald Reagan, started a stance to harshen the sentences for crimes. While this promised to lower the amount of crime by deterring people from committing the acts, it had no impact on the crime rates. Another way that recidivism was increased was through the dismantling of education within the prisons. Without education, prisoners cannot be fully rehabilitated, since many are without education. Because of this factor, the United States has over 2.1 million prisoners in the various prison systems. Finally, discrimination against women, minority races, and lower class citizens are all found within the prison system.
    The concept of prison abolition is incredibly interesting. Personally, I have thought that the disparity in education between people who commit crimes and those who do not was the primary cause for an increased crime rate among the poor. The prison abolitionist movement as described in Davis’s last chapter does have interesting concepts behind it. I do agree with the notion that the education system, health care, and overall way of life for people who live in high-risk communities will greatly reduce crime. Likewise, removing any sort of economic incentive for prisons will also decrease the recidivism rate for criminals. Another, more controversial topic that Davis mentions is the decriminalization of drugs. While many illegal drugs that people use recreationally are harmful to the body, the “War on Drugs” is becoming more of an actual war, since the sale of these drugs funds many major organized crime groups. With twenty-three states and the District of Columbia having already legalized marijuana in some capacity (most not recreationally), it is possible that the process of decriminalization has begun. Finally, focusing on rehabilitation rather than punishment is necessary for recidivism to decline. The direction that our economy is going, I do not think that it is likely to see many of these changes actually implemented in our society, since it is more beneficial in the minds of politicians and correctional business leaders to profit from criminals, rather than rehabilitate them.

    1. I think the alternatives Davis provides to prisons are excellent ideas and I think that they are definitely more desirable than imprisonment. However, as you have pointed out, with the direction of our economy, I am doubtful that the alternatives will be neither accepted nor implemented because it is not in the interest of large corporations and politicians.

    2. Hi Matt,

      Your post is very clear and well stated. I especially like the part where you mentioned the prison industrial complex. It makes too much money for the prison system to be abolished completely. In addition, I do believe that “without education, prisoners cannot be fully rehabilitated, since many are without education.” Thank you for sharing the data that United States has over 2.1 million prisoners in the various prison systems. And discrimination against women, minority races, and lower class citizens are all found within the prison system.

    3. Hi Matt,

      You did a good job with the post. Very detailed. I liked how you pointed out about discriminating that happens with the women, minority race, and lower class citizen. And how little we do to protect these people from such discriminatings. I enjoyed reading your post throughly.

    4. Hi Matt,
      I really enjoyed reading your post. I also agree that the process of decriminalization of drugs has begun. Also, I think focusing on rehabilitation rather than punishment IS necessary for recidivism to decline. Lastly, I agree that it is hard to imagine these changes since we live in a capitalist, neoliberal society with greedy politicians but through awareness and education, we can achieve this prison abolitions step a little further.

    5. I thought you made some really good points and really summarized all the concepts really well. I agree with all you say about feelings about abolishing prisons – I think better healthcare and education is a great place to start. Also – there are a lot of interesting arguments out there about decriminalizing drugs – there are some arguments for it even when you look at it from the opposite side – from a microeconomics perspective, I wish I remembered their arguments for decriminalizing drugs now . . . but I digress, it seems to be the sole reason we have such a large number imprisoned today, and with the profit incentives, it would be really hard to decriminalize drugs, those who profit from the prisons would lobby against it…

  4. Angela Davis does a good job of considering the history of modern prison systems through the paradigm of how the institution of slavery shaped some elements of the modern prison system. For example, she notes that prison regulations were drawn up similar to the Slave Codes (Davis, p. 27). Even more notably, immediately following the abolition of slavery, the south quickly moved to create ways to legally restrict the newly freed slaves, who became the targets for the convict lease system, which codified laws that were constructed to only apply to black persons. Through the convict lease system, they imprisoned them and forced them to labor often on the same plantations that previously ran on slave labor. The book pointed out that in many ways, the convict leasing system was much worse than slavery ever had been. When considering the convict leasing system in the history of globalization – it can be considered a continuation of the efforts of colonial powers to attempt to keep their cheap source of labor – the heart of their system of power. I also thought it was interesting how she also considers historical examples of the efforts to dismantle racist institutions such as slavery, and segregation in the discourse of considerations to dismantle to the U.S Prison system, because during their time, the idea of the obsolescence of those particular institutions seemed impossible to fathom, to which she draws a similarity in how abolishing prisons today would seem impossible to fathom.
    Today, the privatization of correctional facilities poses a grave concern – as Davis points out that: “CCA [Corrections Corporation of America] is paid per prisoner. If the supply dries up, or too many are released too early, their profits are affected . . . Longer prison terms mean greater profits, but the larger point is that the profit motive promotes the expansion of imprisonment” (p. 37). Davis also further points out that the benefits to a corporation are numerous – no problems posed by unions, no necessity to pay for health or other benefits. The “prison industrial complex” and the relationships developed, – and their “attendant drive to fill these new structures with bodies have been driven by ideologies of racism and the pursuit of profit” (p. 84) should be more than concerning. Just as we have discussed before, in nearly any context of such corporate privatization – profit motives drive incentives that can lead to undesirable side effects in a society – and there are clear implications for a society that is dotted with profit-motivated prisons.
    I think the concept of abolishing prisons is an interesting one, but I don’t think it is entirely possible – mostly due to the fact that the similarity she draws on of the abolishing of other institutions that perpetuated injustice – slavery and segregation – those acts were freeing a population from injustices that they in no manner had deserved nor had they brought upon themselves. In other words, the big difference is those populations affected were innocent, while the populations that this would effect are not by majority blameless. I do agree that there are a large portion of persons in prison that could be rehabilitated in other ways, or would be better for society if they never were imprisoned at all for petty crimes, minor drug convictions, etc. – I think it is absolutely reasonable to start a dialogue that entails abolishing the incarceration of those persons convicted of the more menial crimes that may not pose much of a harm to society. However, to me, the author did not make a strong argument to me for what may be done of the worst offenders – those who have murdered multiple times, or who have sexually assaulted women or children numerous times. For the victims of those crimes, I don’t think they or their families could ever sleep at night knowing that the offender was on the streets, undergoing some sort of “reparation” and or rehabilitation program – for those victims, I think they would have the most difficult time trying to mentally dissolve the idea of a link between crime and punishment, especially those who would be at a huge risk of being victimized again.
    Anyway, I do agree with the idea that education, and measures to uplift impoverished persons in society should take a huge seat – and I think that education and real rehabilitation should be the primary motive of prisons – not profit margins. That cannot happen without changing the incentive structure of privatized prisons as they stand today. The biggest problem is that in allowing for prisons to become profit-driven – is that the corporations who run them are incentivized to start affecting other things that would not necessarily be beneficial for society – for example, they would have strong incentives to throw large sums of money into lobbying for stricter laws that result in more persons being incarcerated, or serving longer terms – to ensure that their labor pool is always renewed. They will work to expand their spheres of influence into all other areas possible to ensure their profits stay high – kind of akin to the neocolonial concept of establishing spheres of influence in the place of old structured colonial ones.

    1. Hey Anita,

      Thanks for sharing your opinion on abolition of prison. It was interesting to read your stance on prison reform, it helped me to think about the diverging opinions on prison reform vs. prison abolition. I liked how you pointed out your thoughts on both strengths and weaknesses of Davis’ argument in the book. I liked how you brought up the issue of degree of crime, and whether all crimes are considered as remnants of colonialism. I thought you made a good argument on why prison is necessary with your security argument. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    2. Nice job here, privitizing prisons is horrible and a complete injustice to what America has stood for. Introducing money and business into justice and equality is like convenience and quality, they just don’t mix at all. Nice comparison between prisons and society.

    3. Privatization of prisons is a dangerous complex that corporations such as the Corrections Corporation of America are entering. The original purpose of prisons is to strip the freedom of someone who committed a crime with hope that the punishment would stop the criminal from repeating their action. However, once the profits for prisoners cycle begins, there will be no rehabilitation whatsoever. Furthermore, laws will become more strict and punishments more harsh when these corporations lobby. It is no wonder why the United States has over 2 million prisoners.

  5. In the book, Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Davis, she allows us to think about the histories of prison as a part of the history of globalization. To begin with, slaves imported from Africa became part of the histories of prisons. When African people came to America, they were exploited to work under white people and when they were finally freed, they were poor and they experienced high discrimination from white societies. Due to racism and segregation, African American continued to be poor with low education, no jobs, inadequate health care, etc. Through social reproduction, African American community continued to be vulnerable to crimes and now they make up the largest population in prisons. Moreover, globalization increased the number of immigrants in United States. Many immigrants are exposed to crimes as it is difficult to get good education, health care, and jobs as undocumented personnel. Therefore, many of them end up in prisons or detention centers where they make up significant portion of prison population. Finally, global capitalism allowed large corporations to increase their profits by privatizing prisons. Large corporations build prisons and operate them where their goal is to keep the prisoners in jail for long period of time and make them to come back to prisons by not providing education or rehabilitation in order to make more profits out of them. Thus, it can be said that globalization allowed slavery, immigrants, and global capitalism which became part of the histories of prisons.

    This was the first time I came across the concept of prison abolition and I immediately thought that it did not make much sense. Since I was young, I was told that when someone commits a crime, that person will go to a jail to pay for what he/she has done. As Davis points out in the first chapter, it is difficult for me to imagine a world without prison because the existence of prison is very “natural” to me. After I had read the book, the idea of prison abolition made more sense but I still thought it was impossible. In the last chapter of the book, the author provides various alternatives to prison which are more desirable than imprisonment. To begin with, she talks about providing good education for poor people. Moreover, she argues that there should be health care system for poor people with mental and emotional illnesses. On top of that, she point out that decriminalization of drug use, sex industry, and undocumented immigrants will reduce the numbers of people who are sent to jail. In addition to these alternatives, she argues that there are many more alternatives to prisons. I think these alternatives are great ideas and they are certainly more desirable than imprisonment. However, I am doubtful that in this capitalist society where the interest of large corporation is to increase the number of prisoners and build new prisons to make more profit, politicians who continuously support the interests of large corporations, and media which continue to illustrate imprisonment as the punishment of crimes will accept these alternatives as replacement of prisons. Therefore, I agree with the author in that suggested alternatives are more desirable than imprisonment but I am doubtful that these alternatives will be able to replace prisons.

    1. Julia, I liked how you connected prisons to globalization through your discussion of slavery’s historic role. It is definitely true (and tragic) how we can trace the majority of the prison population back to slavery, which was possible through globalization. Many issues of racism, segregation, and unjust distribution of resources are highlighted in this topic.

  6. Davis looks at how prisons have become seen as natural to people, much like slavery had in the past. It is a system that people cannot imagine living without, and it is this conception which stands as one of the biggest blockers to getting rid of prisons, or at least fixing them. “We should therefore question whether a system that was intimately related to a particular set of historical circumstances that prevailed during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries can lay absolute claim on the twenty-first century,” here we seen that familiar theme of contingency; seeing events and current power structures as inevitable, instead of as dependent on history and changeable (43). The author eloquently ties the recent rising problem of prisons to the effects of global capitalism. In her first chapter she looks at how migrating companies have destroyed communities by leaving many jobless. Later in the book she refers to these people as human surplus and it is through the prison industrial complex that this surplus is put to use. Throughout her book she makes the connection between slavery and prisons and how racism has transformed over time to become harder to combat as people begin to protest for more rights. She shows the power/influence of the U.S. has helped to spread this specific form of American globalism on prisons to other places in the world. The U.S. has the largest number of incarcerated people, but it is not just their problem, it has spread everywhere because it is a symptom of global capitalism.
    Bentham conceived of the idea of the Panopticon, in which prisoners are housed in cells in circular tiers with a central surveillance tower in the center. They are organized in a way in which the prisoners cannot see each other or the people watching them, but the surveillance tower can see all. This visual was meant as a way to show how this feeling of always being watched, but never knowing for sure would result in the most productive labor from the prisoners. But this metaphor is applicable to even bigger ideas like global capitalism in general. This is a system that is able to watch over everyone and control everyone while keeping each other blind of what is around them. Slowly people are becoming aware of problems, but unfortunately there are still many unaware. Only by destroying the “global capitalist Panopticon” will people be able to truly fix the problems of global capitalism and by extent the prison system, because this smaller problem is only a symptom a larger one. There will always be people who are dangerous to other people and perhaps we will need prisons to contain them. But prisons should not be used to house anybody deemed undesirable to a global capital system. It is too soon to tell if prisons will be a necessity for mankind, but it is a broken system and the roots of the problem run to a much deeper underlying problem.

    1. I think that the way in which we perceive prisons as natural is Davis’ main point, and I do agree with it. I have never imagine a world without any prisons, not until I read the book. It is hard to imagine at first, especially without realizing that to change it, society would have to drastically change too. I only wish that her ending chapter would have more options and ideas about how a society without prisons can be achieved.

    2. Hello, I liked your post – and your part about destroying the “global capitalist Panopticon” – you really made some interesting points and tied the concepts of the book to globalism and capitalism well. I really like how you illustrated the concept as being a symptom of a larger, unseen problem.

  7. We can think of the histories of prisons as part of the larger history of globalization through several narratives. The paradigm of globalization emerged within the context of a world that has experienced instances of colonialism, neo-colonialism, or other forms of exploitation that have often revolved around the subjugation of people of color. Indeed, one might argue that such instances continue to occur regularly and have embedded themselves within a variety of facets of globalization. The persistence of an easily definable global north and global south is suggestive of this, for example. Prisons can be viewed as one of the historical and contemporary venues for the continuation of this dynamic, as they provide a toolkit for similar subjugation and exploitation. In her book Are Prisons Obsolete? author Angela Davis conveys this in regard to prisons in the U.S. For example, she looks at the post-slavery justice system within the southern U.S. She contends that it became a new way for mostly white men to exploit the labor of mostly black men through the “convict-lease program” that allowed for the use of people in jails for hard labor. Blacks that had previously been slaves were largely non-existent in the penal system at that point, but new legislation known as “Black Codes” made conviction of them relatively easy, swelling the black incarcerated population. These people were then subjected to labor that some believed was extremely similar to slave labor and perhaps even worse than it, allowing for renewed subjugation of blacks through less obvious means than direct slavery, something akin to the difference between colonialism and neo-colonialism through the agency of jails.
    A more contemporary link between the histories of prisons as part of the history of globalization would be the role played by neo-liberal tendencies. Just as elements of corporatization, privatization, and profit seeking have come define a variety of activities associated with globalization, so too have they come to define the contemporary jail narrative. Davis discusses how a “Prison industrial complex” that she links to the “Military industrial complex” and “Medical industrial complex” has made incarceration a source of profit, transforming the entire process by which prisoners are placed into and used in jail. She discusses prisoners as a commodity that can be easily exploitable when public funds are given to private firms in order to provide the many things associated with sustaining prison populations. Thus firms have a monetary incentive to push for increases in prison populations, thereby increasing their profits at the cost of others. Corporations have also contributed to the jail problem through their ability to move abroad as part of exploiting global labor markets. This, Davis asserts, has been one of the drivers of the desperation that lands people of little means in jail, thereby encouraging the growth of prison populations.
    I think that the concept of total prison abolition is impossible and undesirable based on my understandings of human society. This is not to say that we could not greatly reduce prison populations as well as create alternative recourses for the majority of people within prisons, but the idea of a lack of prisons is unrealistic and naïve. With the most heinous crimes such as murder, rape, or massive theft that involve a clear aggressor and victim, the need for justice felt by those involved would require incarceration. It is either that or execution, as I would imagine that there is no way that someone, or those within their network, would allow for another who did them great harm to ever walk free again in society. They would want that person to do penance or have the peace of mind that they are locked away. I can’t see an alternative to this. Furthermore, some individuals are so dangerous or subjectively evil that they must be taken out of play in society. Again, excluding execution prisons provide the only viable way to do this. If someone were to come up with a comprehensive alternative to all the facets of prison, I would be very impressed, but I feel that Davis does not come close and bases her belief in the idea on conditions that will not come to pass anytime soon.

  8. After reading, “ Are Prisons Obsolete?” by Angela Davis I think we can think of prisons as a part of history of globalization firstly because in the beginning of chapter 2, Davis reminds us the history of slavery in the United States, and how the “white abolitionists found it difficult to imagine blacks as their equals” (23). During slavery, it was quite clear that blacks had no freedom, no rights, and no sense of protection but rather they were used for hard labor that benefited the whites and were also tortured by their owners. Similarly, the case is the same in prisons, though after acquiring their (blacks) freedom and their right to educate themselves and to avail a job to meet the necessity of lives, in prisons we see discrimination against the Blacks as well as the Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans. In relation to slavery and segregation, Davis also discusses the racism not only in terms of black and white but, she reminds us that many other people besides the blacks face racism and those who are of Middle Eastern, South Asian or Muslim heritage race. People of these races were arrested and detained in the aftermath of September 11.
    Another concept that is illustrated in the book is the treatment of women prisoners. Assata Shakur, an African American woman, accused of murder of a state trooper and robbery charges, was convicted in 1977 and confined in the men’s prison for maximum security. “In the history of New Jersey, no woman pretrial detainee prisoner has ever been treated as she was, continuously confined in a men’s prison under 24 hour surveillance” (62). If men were discriminated and beaten in the prisons, the women’s prison was much worse than one could imagine. The strip search that women prisoners had to experience was brutal and horrific. Along with the body cavity search, many women face sexual abuse by the staff members or the guards in charge.
    I think the concept of prison abolition seems unlikely to me because there are some pretty crazy and dangerous people in the world who are a menace to the society and people around them. I don’t think there is ever a day where we don’t read in the newspaper or see on TV about a crime being committed. In my opinion, I think it will be tough to abolish the prisons altogether because the concept seems surreal. How can we be sure that if the criminals are trained or taught in the prison to become “good” people, how can be we sure that, that same person won’t commit a murder after he leaves the prison, that initially got him to the prison?

    1. Hi Seemaab!

      I really enjoyed reading your post. I liked how you included specific quotes from the book the definitely summed up what you were trying to prove. I also really liked that you included the chapter about women in your post. It was interesting what you chose to include with this chapter, specifically the example of Assata Shakur. I extremely enjoyed reading your perspective on prison abolishment. I definitively agree with you that there are some very dangerous people in the world. I also agree with you about the aspect of how would we know if these people are actually rehabilitated rather than them just saying the right things and continue what they were doing before they were sent to jail. Overall, this was a great post and I really enjoyed reading it.

    2. I think Davis makes a compelling points about abolishing prisons. I have feelings that we should not focus on why we should abolish prisons, but rather than why do we have prison, and it is very anti-capitalist because these corporations and politicians are corrupting each others.

  9. After reading Davis’s book, we can see some clear examples of how the history of globalization has played a large role in the history of the prison system in the United States. As Davis first discusses, the history of slavery in the US, which was aided in large part by globalization and the tying together of world economies, was a precursor to the current prison system that we have today. Following the abolition of slavery, Southerners still sought a way to both subjugate blacks and maintain a system of free labor, and this was largely achieved through the newly revamped prison system. With new laws passed that allowed blacks to be jailed on various trumped up charges, along with systems like prison loans, which loaned out inmates, mainly blacks, to work on plantations for no pay, the South was largely able to keep blacks more or less in slavery, just without that official title. Another example of the relationship between globalization and the prison system that Davis gives is the growing institution of privatized prisons, where prisons are now run by corporations instead of state governments. Following along with the policies of neoliberalism, which calls for greater privatization and less government control, the privatization of prisons has helped lead to a growing prison population, not a shrinking one, as the more prisoners you have, the more money you make. Instead of looking for ways to rehabilitate prisoners so that they don’t wind up back in jail, the privatized prison system has pushed for and supported longer sentences and less rehabilitation programs, as this will continue to keep their population stable and increasing. Instead of actually deterring crime, longer prison sentences have instead increased the recidivism rate, as they turn common criminals into hardened repeaters.
    Though Davis lays out some good arguments and alternative solutions in her support for the abolition of prisons, the possibility of it ever happening seems extremely unlikely. The large amounts of money that are made by corporations through the privatization of prisons is one massive roadblock, but the still larger one is the fears of everyday people. The average person will believe that if you abolish prisons, there will be no deterrent to people committing crimes, thus leaving little chance that a majority of people would either support laws, or politicians, that support the abolition of prisons. Though prisons themselves do not really work, a better plan would be rehabilitation programs for the majority of prisoners, with only a small minority being deemed unable to fully rehabilitate to release back into society, the chance of a majority of citizens supporting that is slim to none

    1. I mostly agree with your analysis of why prisons can never be fully phased out of society. Even if we created better institutions to rehabilitate or prevent crime, there will always be that population of incorrigible people who need to be kept out of society. I have no doubt that the majority of society will agree with me on this point. I think prisons do serve their purpose effectively in regard to these people, and may help some other people better themselves or think twice about crime. Yet I concede that they also fail many who pass through them and perpetuate a great deal of negative trends.

  10. We can think of the history of prisons as part of the history of globalization using Davis’ examples because the examples used by her seem to be ongoing and changing as we speak, which is the same with the process of globalization. Also, Davis uses two major historical eras to point out the abuse in the prison system; she mentions colonization and also recent years. By colonization, she states that the development of the prison system in the United States can be seen as a resistance to British colonial power. In the U.S., the prison system was compared and seen as more humane that the capital and corporal punishment experienced in England. However, this does not mean that the system was flawless. Davis mentions various examples of abuse as the prison system developed. A convict lease system developed, which was nothing more than using prisoners as disposable labor. Davis even compares them to slaves and how their labor servitude and conditions were worst because their bosses had no economic interest in them as they did, if they had been their slaves. The ‘New Black Codes’ also criminalized acts only when they were committed if the person was black. Another concept usually associated with globalization is capitalism, and this rose, as imprisonment became the major form of punishment for criminal acts. The rise of the incarceration of people caused a wider gap between the working class and the bourgeoisie. As far as the recent years, Davis mentions a concept similar to the ‘military industrial complex’ only that in her case it is the ‘prison industrial complex’. Much like in the first one, in the prison system it is the other parties involved that benefit from the processes of social destruction and not those directly affected by it, the prisoners. Those who benefit are the private corporations, the government, correctional communities and the media. An important thing to mention is that the privatization of prisons has in a way caused them to become a business and has had the same effect as the privatization of healthcare. With the prisons becoming private, the corporations that runs them have to keep a certain number of prisoners to keep making profit, encouraging them to retain them as long as possible. Outsourcing is another concept seen in globalization that is important to point out when it comes to the prison system in the United States. However, and unlike the other cases that we have seen in class where the abused are foreigners in other countries, the abused here are people within our borders. The outsourcing occurs, knowingly, as when they produce furniture for college campuses, and sometimes not, as when it does when they are being used for medical experimentation. I think that the concept of prison abolition is desirable, but I do not know if it is possible, unless there are major and drastic changes to society as a whole. Also, based on what Davis mentions many countries have taken the U.S. prison system as their example, which means that perhaps if the U.S. begins a steady path towards changing the prison system, then other countries might follow.

    1. Hey Julia,

      Yes, we like to think that abolishing prisons seem like a desirable option, but the fact is that it seems surreal. I agree that if this drastic change were to occur, there should be a complete change in the society we live in. We can always hope, but it seems unrealistic. Good post though!

  11. Prisons and racism were deeply correlated when we look at the history of prisons. As the globalization progressed, history of forced laborers and prisons also continued. For example, Davis mentions about the U. S. Chattel Slavery included forced labor and was based on racist ideology. She further explains that U.S. had laws against African Americans, such as, absence from work. If African Americans broke these laws then they were be considered as criminals and were charged. To separate criminals from the society, Supreme Justice was created. Then, she relates history of prisons to capitalism “The process through which imprisonment developed into the primary mode of state inflicted punishment was very much related to the rise of capitalism and to the appearance of a new set of ideological conditions.” (Davis 43)

    Then, in the book we learn about Prison Industrial Complex, which presents the idea that even though the lease system(terrible conditions of exploitation workers), it is still within our system in a different form. With the rapid progress of globalization and privatization of companies, we see that corporation of punishment is coming up again. Moreover, going back to the history of prisons, various ideas of it emerged in America and Europe. However, they emerged as “prison reform,” yet they two words separated over the history. In addition, through Davis’ book we also learn about various systems of prisons, such as Pennsylvania system, which would keep prisoners isolated in separate cells. Davis also introduces us to the technology that prisons have adopted. Technology has also created relations between the prison industrial complex and military industrial complex.

    The reform system that was made to improve the prison conditions is surely not working and prisoners have suffered and are suffering through many terrible conditions. I think that these conditions should be improved. The idea of abolishing prisons supports to eliminate those conditions. Yet, as we think of prison as a place if someone breaks the law then they will be sent there. If we do not have any prison, then the crimes will increase. There should be other systems introduced to replace prisons or the conditions should be improved.

    1. I understand and think that totally getting rid of prisons is not possible. I think what you said, about the other process should be introduced to replace prison or punishment is right because there is not other way to deal with domestic violence.

  12. From the reading in the book, I can see a connection of the growth of globalization to the time when nine prisons were being built in California, from 1984-1989 it was twice the number of prisons and this all took place during the Reagan era and during this time minimizing crime in communities was a goal however there didn’t seem to be much effect. The growth of prisons and those who were imprisoned continued since. In Davis’ book we read about how high the population of some races are in prisons. Davis brings to light some factors that reveals methods in which capitalism and this certain urge for financial gain in the US from way back when play a part in forming prisons. Davis argues “prison construction and the attendant drive to fill these new structures with human bodies have been driven by ideologies of racism and the pursuit of profit.” I would like to add that this we can relate this with environmental racism we discussed last week due to globalization. We discussed last week and even watched a video on the pollution that Shell was causing to nearby people. By bringing this up I am trying to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of citizens being placed in particular places due to racism because we can relate this with companies or corporations that used prisons to their advantage. Note, this corporations were developed by capitalizing off of globalization.Bottomline is, those imprisoned would pretty much be a reserve labor army. They keep labor competitive. Clearly corporations use cheap labor from the prisons. I think the rise capitalism plays a vital part in relating histories of prisons and globalization. The truth is I am not really sure if prison abolition is possible or not. I mean, anything is possible but it is very hard to imagine that especially in today’s society where everyone is pretty much depending on these prisons and I think their reliance on prisons is just a good enough reason to not get rid of prisons. If it is possible it will take a very long time for this to happen. On top of that I am not really thrilled by the idea of abolishing prisons anyway. There is a reason why we they were built in the first place. Where exactly are the dangerous convicted people going to stay if we do away with prisons? It is not all about punishment, we need to keep dangerous isolated and away to keep them from doing harm to others.

    1. Hey Karrie,

      I enjoyed reading your post. I agree with your comments on keeping the dangerous criminals away in a prison, rather than them lurking within our society to cause more harm. And yes, prisons are those places for such people, and it should not be abolished.

  13. This book describes and it took more than hundred years to build the first nine prisons in California, but it count doubled, and nine were build more in between 1984 to 89. This happen in the Reagan Era which was large and “tough on crime” push to minimize crime in communities, however, it had no effects. The prisons and those incarcerated has grown exponentially since then. This certainly can be connected with the growth of globalization.
    In this reading, Davis stated how certain kind of races have higher populations in prisons. This also is an example of environmental racism stayed to globalization. The same process can be applied to those in prisons. People belongs to certain places in history due to racism has directed to certain benefits and difficulties. According to Davis, in her opening statement such a huge expansion has gone largely unseen by the general population, as prisons have by and large become “an ordinary dimension of community life.”
    The examples from this book are some prisoners have become privatized and become prisons for profit. As stated by Evans and Goldberg in Davis’ book, “For private business prison labor is like a pot of gold. No strikes. No union organizing. No health benefits, unemployment insurance, or workers’ compensation to pay.” (Davis 84). Liberalization of institutions goes hand in hand with globalization by destroying some very important and helpful programs. By doing this prisons are allowing to not only take away the rights of those that they are using for the labor but those in the rest of society as well. They make it so that companies can find cheaper and easier labor away and this puts pressure on those with rights to take smaller waged jobs with less security in order to “compete” with these prisons. Davis states, “The prison industrial complex is fueled by privatization patterns that, it will be recalled, have also drastically transformed health care, education, and other areas of our lives.” (Davis 93) This simply puts the privatization of the prison system into context of other institutions that have been rattled by liberalization.
    Based on Prison abolition, I don’t think we should get rid of everything. I think there must be a large transformation for prison. I do not think it is possible for complete prison abolition. I think there should be some changes because the people are not aware of what is happening in jail today. There are mistreatment and injustice are still going on. In my opinion there are greatly alternative that can be done in place of prisons, and in ideal world, the United States government would need this.

    1. Fatima, I like how you explained the history of prisons during Reagan Era. Furthermore, I agree with you that Corporations take advantage of prison labor because their will be no strikes from them and they will have to provide their labor. Also, there will be no union coming to help them.
      Good job!

  14. In “Are Prisons Obsolete?” Angela Davis challenges the traditional way of viewing prisons through a critical analysis of incarceration’s history and its myriad of societal, economic, and political implications. There are several examples that showcase how the history of prisons is linked to the history of globalization – namely through themes of exploitation, racism, and power. Globalization operates largely in the interests of the most [economically] “developed” countries, meaning countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, and Japan dominate international economic policies and trade; this dominance leads to the global North taking advantage of the global South’s cheap labor, land, people, and raw materials. Historically, this exploitation is rooted in colonialism and imperialism, which has been supported by notions of racial supremacy.
    Industrialization – which is pivotal in becoming “developed” and is growing internationally due to globalization – is impossible without cheap or slave labor. For example, in the United States, slavery drove the industrial revolution: agricultural crops such as cotton were picked by slaves which enabled huge profits. Recently in the Gulf States such as Kuwait, laborers from Pakistan and India are exploited (passports stolen, harsh living conditions, little to no pay) as they construct and maintain the city’s urban center. In both the U.S. and Kuwait, it was deemed that the slave laborers were racially inferior. Their rights were also non-existent. Davis highlights that the prison system in the United States is also linked to exploitation for capitalist gain due to its “racist labor conditions of penal servitude” which is described by some as “worse than slavery” (Davis 35). For example, Georgia’s renowned Peachtree Street and the rest of Atlanta’s paved roads and modern transportation infrastructure were originally laid by convicts; through the use of prisoners, the state developed its resources without creating a wage labor force. Davis emphasizes that “the penal system could be used as a powerful sanction against rural blacks who challenged the racial order upon which agricultural labor control relied” (Davis 34). It is clear that there is a class divide: the bourgeoisie (corporate CEOs, slave owners) reap immense economic benefits through taking advantage of the proletariat (slaves, low-wage workers), who are left disempowered and exploited. It might also be compared to having a reserve army or an expendable work force: prisons and corporations can easily replace workers due to their vulnerabilities.
    Another linking factor between the prison-industrial complex and globalization is privatization, as well as the notion that prisons are considered so “natural” that it is hard to imagine life without such an institution. Davis reminds the reader that imprisonment was not a principal mode of punishment until the 18th century in Europe; it was then instituted across Asia and Africa through colonial rule. Through the creation of private prisons, corporations can rent out prison laborers for an immense profit. Additionally, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is paid per prisoner, meaning that longer prison terms mean greater profits; the underlying motivation is the expansion of prisons to reap a greater profit. In our ever-globalized world, similar tactics are adopted to increase profits at the expense of human life and injustice. Citizens are left to believe that the corporatization of everything – from industries to politics – is “natural” and impossible to fix.
    Prison abolition is surely desirable, given incarceration has been proved to be ineffective in fostering a peaceful society and rehabilitating offenders. Unfortunately, the possibilities of prison abolition in the near-future is unlikely due to heavily influential political and corporate interests, as well as media which is swayed off of these interests. However, Davis reminds us that the ancestors of today’s most ardent liberals could not have imagined life without slavery, lynching, or segregation. I do believe that while an extreme measure such as prison abolition cannot be carried out in a mere decade, we can make strides to place a greater value on knowledge and intellectual development, as opposed to discipline and security. Adopting restorative justice measures – as opposed to exclusively punitive justice – can make a substantial difference in changing the culture of crime. Equally as important is education: getting citizens aware of the prison industrial-complex and how they can act against it. Hence, it is important to keep pushing through the fight for true justice. Davis declares, “as our struggles mature, they produce new ideas, new issues and new terrain on which we engage in the quest for freedom. Like Nelson Mandela, we must be willing to embrace the long walk toward freedom” (The Nation).

    1. Hello Tabatha,

      You have nicely linked the history of Globalization and Prisons. You are right that having Prisons seem such a natural idea that we cannot think about living without it. Additionally, I like how you mentioned that there is a motive for the prisoners to stay for longer time in the prison. Thanks for sharing , Great job!

    2. Tabatha, the motive for prisoners to stay longer in prison puts everything in perspective to me. It makes Davis’ concept of the prison industrial system easier to understand. Now that some prisons have been privatized, and even those who are not, prisons have become a business and prisoners are both commodities and labor force.

    3. While I enjoyed your response, I disagree with the notion that a prerequisite to industrialization is the presence of cheap labor or slave labor. It is undeniable that this has been an enduring historical and contemporary trend, as you illustrate above, but that is not because labor of that nature was necessary. Rather, I believe industrialization was triggered by a watershed moment in our technological advancement, and that it could have occurred with a far more equitable distribution of wealth. However, the realities of special interest and circumstances defining the ability of people to conduct economic activity insured that a relative few had positive outcomes while many were deprived.

  15. Angela Davis points out that imprisonment as a form of punishment was not vastly practiced before the 18th century in Europe and 19th century in the US. “The origins of the prison are associated with the American Revolution and therefore with the resistance to the colonial power of England.” Instituting prison systems in Asia and Africa during that period of time exhibit important elements of colonial rule. The prison system, especially in the US, has increased rapidly since then. Davis argues that “the prison is considered so “natural” that it is extremely hard to imagine life without it.” Excluding members of black, Latino, and Native American communities, very few people experience the life in the prison. Thus they do not have a realistic understanding about the prison and its conditions. The sense of familiarity with prison for most people is generated by the media. Hollywood and other film producers create an image of prison that is often far from the reality. This is perhaps the main reason that why people permit the prison existence. People often consider prisons as disconnected form their lives and tend to believe that in addition to reducing crime, prisons offer job opportunities and economic growth in the secluded areas. However, neither of these assumptions are actually taking place in the reality. In fact, greater number of prisons cause more crime rather than safety. This is because the economy in the damaged areas is destroyed, and so are social services, so people lose their jobs which lead them to be next candidates for prison. Davis points out that more than twenty percent of the whole world’s prison population is placed in the US. Between 1984 and 1989, the number of prisons in the state of California doubled. During this period of time (less than a decade), nine new prisons including the Northern California Facility for women were opened in the California while it took more hundred years for the first nine prisons to be opened in this state. To explain the relationship between the US prison system growth and corporation involvement, Davis uses term “prison industrial complex.” This term refers to participation of corporations that provide construction, delivery of goods and services, as well as use of prison labor prison as the result prison system growth. “The prison-industrial complex includes not only private and public prisons but also juvenile facilities, military prisons and interrogation centers. Moreover, the most profitable sector of the private-prison business is composed of immigrant detention centers.” Davis believe that prison is racism, and people of colors have more chance to end up in prisons than receiving a decent education.

  16. There are many ways on which we can think about the histories of prisons as a part of the history of globalization in reference to Angela Davis’ book. One major aspect, in which Davis spent a large amount of time describing, is how race have impacted these intertwining histories. The history of prisons was affected by slavery in the USA, in which slavery helped create the significant spreading of globalization. With slavery being abolished in one form, it was established in associated to prisons. Due to being enslaved, these people of minority were poor and had white people that discriminated them due to their race. This caused for socioeconomic and cultural hardships from these previous slaves. Davis uses certain examples of white people either blaming African Americans for crimes that these minority did not commit or painting their face black in order to commit crimes and have the African Americans be blamed for it because they were an easy target. During this time period, prisons were becoming more like a substitute of slavery by which prisoners were being forced to work in chain gangs or be leased out to work. This generated a new free labor source after the abolishment of slavery. This idea spread to many areas around the world. This new labor source gave opportunity for corporations to create a specific impact on the history of prisons. These included privatized prisons and private leasing on certain aspects of state-run prisons. These include the building of the state-run prisons due the state contracting it out and paying back in labor over 50 years. Davis reminds us that those that are being discriminated against and have a high rate of people in prison are not just the African American minority but also includes Latino, Native Americans, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and other minorities. Some detained due to immigration, and some detained after September 11th, 2001. Davis spends the entire book trying to explain to the reader the history behind and why prisons are obsolete and should be abolished in reference to the history of prisons and globalization.

    I think that the concept of prison abolition is a good idea, but only in theory. It feels as if she is trying to make stance where in the future, if prisons did not exist, it would create a type of utopia. This is not necessarily true. It was interesting that she gave the background history to make her point and I understand that a lot of certain types of people are in jail due to their socioeconomic and cultural status or due to racial profiling, although, this does not account for all of the actual bad people in this world. Davis also writes about rehabilitation of prisoners. This can be possibly true in instances like drug abuse but this does not include psychopaths, serial killers, etc. Davis concludes on how we need to change the social system in order for things in prison to change. This is very true and realistic but it seems as though she thinks that we can do this in the short amount of time that the history of globalization and common prisons were established, which is just not true. Globalization is en rooted so deep into our society that if the ideals of it were to change, than everything would fall apart. Economies around the world are always needing to increase profit and needing to find a way to do so in order to stay among the other globalized countries. Overall, Davis bring interesting ideas of prisons and globalization and her way of thinking is maybe even desirable, at some point, but it is not possible, not in this day and age where everything is centered on a fast increase of profit. There is also the question of what would happen to the people that are actually bad people, like sociopaths, psychopaths, etc. who can not be rehabilitated and have no concept for human feelings.

    1. Rachael,
      I agree with you, the concept of abolition prisons is a good idea, but it is not possible at least with the current social structure and economic resources. Prison abolition could be considered in theory, but in reality it is not doable. As you mentioned, what would happen to bad people if it was no prisons/punishment. It would be great if there was no prisons, but only if there was no crime. In my opinion, we need to focus more on providing better social services such as education and mental/physical health inside and outside of prisons in order to reduce the level of crime rather than questioning the existence of prisons.

  17. As Davis describes in her book, the U.S. adopted its punitive system from England. So it is in this way that globalization played a role in the spread of the prison system. She also highlights that the English system spread to many other places in the world, including India. Additionally, while the prison system in the U.S. was modeled after the one the English employed, the English had much more inhumane practices of punishing offenders that were not taken on. Another historical globalization of prisons movement that Davis highlights is that the U.S. established the “super-max” prisons that were then globalized and instilled in other states. The example she uses is when Turkey moved to the “F-Type” prisons, that were more isolating to the prisoners, prisoners were so against this that they went on a “death fast”, which 50 inmates died from.
    In addition, Davis draws similarities between slave plantations and prisons. She emphasis’s how after slavery was abolished, prisons starting increasing and so did the number of blacks being incarcerated. This lead to the leasing out of convicts to do work such as build railroads and streets, Davis’ example was that the most famous street in Georgia, Peach Street, was like walking on the backs of those convicts who paved it. This is a clear example of globalization, because slavery was the product, regrettably, of globalization, and as Davis argues prisons were an answer to slavery no longer being allowed. Davis, being an anti-prison activist, wants to highlight that incarcerations show a racist tendency, with more blacks, Hispanic, and Native Americans, being put into prisons than whites. She also stresses the fact that instead of the government focusing on programs that will help rehabilitate people back into society, the current system simply takes them off the streets and never actually deals with the cause of their problem. She argues that prisons are very much a new legalized form of slavery.

    I personally believe in punishing offenders for crimes that they have committed. I also, am for capital punishment, in very extreme cases. That being said I do not think that abolishing prisons will be a) possible and b) desirable. Unfortunately, people tend to do what they feel they can get away with, so if there isn’t a punishment/chance that they will get one, I believe the world we live in will become completely unruly and savage. I do understand that Davis offers some solutions such as legalizing sex work and drug use, in order to lower the number of people incarcerated and I strongly disagree with that. Legalizing prostitution and drug use (she cites heroin) is not going to help our country or the very people who are in prison for committing these acts in the first place. All that it will lead to is less morality in our society and more people dead (i.e. STD’s, HIV, AIDs, Drug overdoses). Also, having these things be legal just invites more people to participate and thus creates more problems for upstanding members of society to deal with.
    Lastly, I think the most important take away from reading this book for me was that the prison systems we have need a lot of attention. As I explained above I do support the prison system, however after reading this it became clear that I don’t support the one that we have in place currently. Confining people to a small area with no human interaction or ability to move around is actually taking away very basic humanity from them. The sexual and physical abuse that inmates face is enraging, even more so then the fact that those committing the abuse tend to get away without much trouble. It has made me realize that many people are quick to ignore the needs of prisoners because we want to say that they don’t deserve it. “You do the crime you do the time” is the sort of approach we have, but “doing the time” cannot be at the expense of people’s sanity, safety, and basic human rights. I do believe in criminals being punished, but I believe that the way that we go about it now is all wrong.

    1. Kseniya,
      Although I do not support any kind of physical or mental abuse even for criminals, I think the existence of prisons is necessary is the society. Those that commit crime need to know there is some sort of punishment for their actions. This does not mean I don’t support the reformation in prison system. As I mentioned nobody deserves to be abused, so we should think about ways to keep bad people in prison while improving their conditions. I noticed you disagreed with the idea of legalizing drugs and prostitution. With respect to your opinion, I just want to leave a comment on this matter. In places that prostitution and drugs are legal, there is a system that controls these activities, for both the providers and consumers. In this way, prostitution and drug dealing take place in a safer environment.

    2. Hi Kseniya,
      I agree with all of your points. I do not see abolition of prisons as a solution, as I think that it would bring up more problems in the society. However, I do agree that confining people to a small area without any interaction with others is actually taking humanity from them, and I don’t support this kind of environment either.

    3. Hi Kseniya:

      I agree with your analysis regarding the abolition because it is not benficial for criminals. I think after they finished their imprisonment some of them they will convey the same crimes again and again. Therefore, I do agree with you that is it kind of slave plantations toward prisoners. The situation for prisoners will have bad consequence. They should be balance between the punishment and send them to rehab as well it depends on the crimes they commit.

  18. The US prison system is flawed. The history dates back to when slavery was still a policy here in the US. While yes slavery was outlawed, the black codes still existed in order to persecute any one of colour. The things they could be persecuted for were so trivial. They could be jailed for missing work, acting out in public, and theft. The book calls criminals those “idle and disorderly persons”. That could implicate any one as a criminal and be used unjustly. These laws made former slaves to be such criminals and forced them back into slavery.

    Only this time it was much worse. In slavery, owners cared enough to keep their slaves going in order to get a return on their investment. I think that the history behind mass imprisonment is interesting. For example, it started out as a way to force black people into slavery, only this time it could be done harsher. It created “black crimes” which is some thing we still see today. There are constant reports about police violence against minorities. It is a major issue going on right now especially after the Trevon Martin and Ferguson cases. The book even states that racial profiling continues to exist today.

    In the 1990’s there were cases of crimes being blamed on black assailants. I was very young when the Susan Smith case happened, but I remember hearing about it later. Susan Smith killed her two small children by drowning them in a car. She blamed an unknown black man of the crime. Charles Stuart claimed a black man killed his pregnant wife to remove himself as the murderer.

    I thought it was note worthy to acknowledge the power of racism. The book tells about the “ideological work that prison performs”. Angela Davis explains that “criminals” and “evil doers” are often imagined as people of colour and that prison is where the undesirables are deposited. This removes any responsibility and acknowledgement of a problem. Its sort of swept under the rug. This is similar to Thomas Jefferson and his treatment of his slaves. They were kept hidden and the true cruelty of their lives was removed from the public eye. It seems as his plantation was run on magic.

    I think it’s interesting to see globalisation within this book. While reading it I found the passage on page 16 intriguing. Angela Davis is talking about the economic system of outsourcing. This reminded me of the articles we read earlier, and how Chinese factory workers didn’t have it much better off than we do here. It reminded me of the fear mongering and scapegoating we read about.

    I don’t know if prisons can be removed or if they should. I wonder what would happen to serious criminal offenders such as Susan Smith or Charles Stuart. What happens to murders and rapists who cannot be rehabilitated? I think for offenders of drugs and other less hurtful crimes should be given rehabilitation centres where they can work to improve themselves and overcome addictions and such.

    1. I liked how you linked your response to racism which I agree is a huge problem in our society today. Although we live in the US, a country that is known for diversity of cultures and races – we are still a country that racial profile blacks and people of color. Ferguson and Trayvon Martin’s incident is another example of how black people are always the ones blamed and how white cops take advantage of their position in society.

  19. Prisons since human history have play a critical role in our society. Though it is needed, there should be a more methodical and rehabilitative approach then to fill up as many prisons as possible for sake of money. The more incarceration increases, the more it fills up our prison industrial complex. Angela Davis explains how expanding and acquiring more prisons for the large privatized prison corporations is effecting our society. Over a million prisons are typically detained in the United States at one time, that’s a lot of people that are not contributing to society but milking taxpayers to house them. Alternative approaches using retributive, restorative and parallel justice systems to help victims yet still bring other ways prisoners of non-violent crimes to repair their harm done to society or community. Davis says how longer the prison sentence, the more money it generates. While true, it’s despicable that this is a business model for some companies. Colonialism combined with globalization has residual impacts from history to the present. Discriminatory laws introduced new ways of slavery, the war on drugs and others that attack low income families or populations. As far as abolishment of prisons, though sounds extreme, can be applied in a great way. Nonviolent offenders fill up over 90% of the offenses in the prison. Punitive sentences should not be given for drug abuse or sales. Rehabilitative measures may not help as much as the theory implies, yet, tossing them in prison hasn’t been successful either and more creative sentencing could help lessen the impact prison budgets milk the state. Decriminalization of some drugs could help drastically, yet some others should remain illegal. Davis further grows on this speaking further on the war on drugs, it is an actual war. It’s been nothing short of a failure and an expensive one at that. It’s so bad that states are reducing sentences for long term sentences to lessen the expense the states have. Politics, businesses and corrupt lobbying will continue to plague prisons. Money and business is the core of the American dream, the larger the corporation the momentum it has and to stop that train nowadays is almost impossible. The CCA is paid per prisoner, making them a lot of money and making even small infractions in prisons worst for the offender. They will add on a year or two for small situations just to keep them in there. Overcrowding is another issue, with poor conditions it creates hostility among inmates and a threat to the staff. All around the prison situation needs reform.

    1. I like your comments on using rehab as a bigger means to help felons, and about legalizing drugs to end a lot of the prison sentences that we already have. Instead of targeting the random guy on the street and locking him up for 20 years, police and the government should be focused on the people who actually matter in the drug trade, not the random street dealer.

    2. I agree with what you have written above. Removing the prison system doesn’t make sense currently because there isn’t a new approach that would be better at this time. I do however agree that the prisons systems are going about the punishments of some of the criminals wrong and much too harshly. And I agree that there needs to be a reform and one that will get to the root of the problems instead of just appeasing people on the outside.

  20. The history of prisons as part of the history of globalization a major concept that I found to be important and interesting is whether prisons are obsolete. From reading Angela Davis book I found the privatization of prisons to be very troublesome for the United States. The United States government has continually handed over prisons that they can no longer up keep to the private sector. These corporations that make up the “prison industrial complex” control every aspect of the prison system. They provide the food and the healthcare to the inmates for a profit unlike how the government would provide it to the system. If you think about it the prisons don’t abide by strict regulations but a lose set of parameters given in the contracts. The prisons also have it within in their favor to hold as many inmates as possible for as long as possible providing the most services. This was also initiated by the Reagan administration that wanted longer and harsh penalties for those that committed crimes. The logic was to deter people from committing crimes but it had no visible effects on the crime rate. Another factor is that with the privatization of prisons, programs were cut to reduce spending. This meant programs such as education and rehabilitation, which are crucial for the inmates to enter the outside world prepared to do contribute to society. The prison system is relatable to colonialism in the sense that slavery was used to bolster the wealth of the nation. These private prisons hold individuals for a price, the more prisoners they have and the longer they keep them the more money they make.

    The concept of prison abolition I think is not a good ideal at all for the safety of everybody and the nation. What I do think should be done is the removal of privatized prisons because they don’t have the best intentions for the inmates they are holding. The prisons are there to rehabilitate and educate inmates while they serve their time. Otherwise when they get out they are just more hardened criminals who have lost their ways. I also think that with the privatization of prisons arrests have increased to meet the demands of the prisons to fill up their slots. The abolition of prisons is a bad idea because what would be done with all the criminals that have committed terrible crimes. They would continue doing what they want with no fear and repercussions. But I also believe we should reduce the amounts of prisons and reasons people go to prisons. The amount of prisons has soured too high and is doing more harm than good other than the people that truly to deserve to be in them.

    1. Hi
      I do agree there is a reason why they are in jail. I do not think they should over crowded the jail just to make a profit. I agree it ridiculous they are throwing people in jail for petty things and they should save the space for people that really deserve to be in the jail.

    2. But you have to wonder though if instead of coming out hardened criminals because they didn’t get rehabilitated or educated, they come out hardened criminals because they are locked up for long stretches for minor offences, and thus become more violent because of prison culture, and the view that society only thinks of them as a criminal, so why try and be any different.

    3. I think it is easy to say that we should reduce the amount of prisons and reasons people go to prisons, yet in some offenses people feel that they need justice in a situation. However, I completely agree that there are certain offenses that do not require the jail time that is being given to them. I feel that they should not be privatized and instead state owned. There is an ill intent when corporations are profiting off of people being in jail.

    4. I feel like the percentage of people in prisons that are actually violent and are unable to be rehabilitated is very small, many people in there are there for dumb things like drugs. Also, most of the people there for violent actions are normally there because it was against someone they know, these things can be fixed without prisons. It is true though that there are a few people in the world who are dangerous, but perhaps they would be better served to be in a mental hospital.

  21. When I think of globalization, I think of how things have changed over the years for the better, especially technology. The concept by Angela Davis is about how the rich companies are buying the prisons and the way colonialism are affecting the society we live in today. The companies were buying out prisons to maximize the use of the space in order to make a profit. We as humans normally do things for our own financial gain. Neoliberalism and capitalism are mostly benefiting the rich. The companies will do anything for money and are only worried about themselves and making a profit. The companies’ livelihood depends on the prisons and how long the inmates stay there. The police, who are also involved, are arresting people left and right and throwing them in jail further helping the companies make a profit. The jails are getting overcrowded due to people being placed in jail for small infractions.
    Colonialism is still in effect today. Slaves were used a long time ago and is still a major part of history. Globalization helped the slaves become free and soon slavery was abolished. We don’t like to admit slavery happened because it was wrong and horrible. The slaves did not have freedom, were treated unfairly, raped, beaten, and etc. However, slavery still exists today in the form of what’s called human trafficking. Globalization has also helped human trafficking by allowing it to advance and happen more frequently. Trafficking comes in many different forms. The internet and technology has allowed human trafficking to get worse. Human trafficking is defined as trading humans for various things such as sex, slavery, and labor. Human trafficking is happening all over the world including the United States. In the United States, sex trafficking occurs in escort services, brothels, or spas. The internet is also helping to spread the crime by posting online offering sex for money and it’s spreading like wildfire. A lot of the women and children come from poor families and could not be educated so they prostitute themselves out for money. Human trafficking is a major problem all over the world and there isn’t a lot that is being done to handle it. Human trafficking is considered to be modern day slavery.
    I do not think the companies should use the prisons for a chance to make a profit. I believe prisons exist for a reason as there inhabitants have done something wrong such as rape, murder, theft, and etc. I also believe that everyone makes mistakes and we are all human so maybe they will learn their lesson. If they mess up again they need to go back into the prison. an example I want to use is: Lorena Bobbitt famously sliced off her husband’s penis in 1993 with a kitchen knife as he slept before driving away and throwing it into a field in Manassas VA. Surgeons were able to reattached John Wayne Bobbitt’s penis. Lorena was found not guilty due to the abuse she suffered from John.

    1. Sophia,
      First of, WHAT THE HECK. Who cuts their significant other’s genitalia off?! That man must have been some deep sleeper..
      I agree with you. Prisons shouldn’t be used to make a profit. They should be used a rehabilitation centres. I just wonder about those who can’t be rehabilitated.

  22. In “Are Prisons Obsolete?” by Angela Davis, it is being showed that the history of prison system in the United States relates back to history of globalization. One of the concepts that is being talked about is colonialism. When African slaves came to America, they did not have rights and were forced to work under white people. Africans did not have rights on education; no healthcare and the jobs that they were working described them as slaves. As a result, black people opposed to these because they weren’t getting the same rights as white people and this made them be prone to crimes and there were a lot of black people in the prisons at the time. They were victimized and faced various restrictions without having a change to speak up.
    Big corporations and private companies are said to own the prisons instead of government. Privatization of prisons lead to a bigger population of people because more people in the prisons mean the more profits for the corporations and companies. Privatization of prison system made longer sentences for people who are already in prisons, providing them with less rehabilitation just to keep the prisoners in for longer. The population in prisons was increasing while making it harder for those who remain in prisons.

    The concept of prison abolition is unrealistic and impossible. I cannot think of a society in which the people won’t be sent to prison as a result of their crimes. If that were to be the case, people would not have fear to be punished and they would do what they wanted without a thought of getting penalized. Some of the cases involve highly aggressive people committing crimes, rape, murders and it is most likely that they mean to commit these and I don’t think they should get away with crimes like this with no consequences. There wouldn’t be justice then and I know for a fact that people who got affected from situations like this, perhaps the relatives of people who got affected would not just be quiet and let it pass. If there were no prisons, these people would try to find a way to take revenge because they wouldn’t want the criminals to live like normal, then the world would be chaos and no one could control what would happen to whom.

    1. Elif,

      I am on the same page as you are. I have a hard time imagining a world without prisons. You made a good point about people seeking revenge and the world becoming utter chaos. What would you recommend as a punishment if prisons weren’t in existence? I think Angela Davis had some good points, but prisons can’t be abolished. They shouldn’t be racist profit centres however.

  23. In “Are Prisons Obsolete?” by Angela Davis we see the parallels between prisons and events in history that explain how the history of globalization has played a role in the prison system in the United States. Davis first discusses the history of slavery in the United States and how that was made possible through globalization. During this process, there was a culture created, that at the time was considered the norm, where people of color were seen as lesser and treated poorly. Racism thereafter became instilled in institutions and as Davis explains, the effects can be seen today, especially in prisons. Davis also talks about the effect corporations have had on prisons as more and more prisons are being bought out by corporations. With this example we can see that there is ultimately a financial gain that comes with prisons and it seems like this is where the interest in prisons comes from. The prison system has become an industrial complex where corporations are not only privatizing prisons, but also funding different aspects, and ultimately profiting from the business. Davis shows that it is beneficial for prisons to keep their prisoners and thus the system promotes keeping them over rehabilitation. Corporations profit so long as they have a steady population of prisoners. Over time there has not been a significant decrease in crime rates but prisoners have had longer sentences. Through all of these points, Davis makes it clear that corporations have made prisons merely a business overlooking the effect it has on people in general. While Davis supports the abolition of prisons, I believe this is not a feasible or realistic approach. Though Davis provides some alternatives to the prison system, completely getting rid of them would not work because of the involvement of corporations. Not only has it become a business that several corporations are profiting off of, but I think it would be hard to gain public support of getting rid of prisons. If there is no replacement, people might be afraid that the abolition of prisons would result in an increase in crime rates. Since slavery was once a norm, just as prisons are now, I don’t believe it is impossible to abolish prisons. However, in addition to corporation and government interests in prisons, our society is much different than it was in the past so I feel that it would be much more difficult to implement such a plan. It may prove beneficial to focus on rehabilitation plans instead.

    1. Hi Amneet,
      I like your take on whether prisons should be abolished and whether its feasible. I think many people can’t imagine our country without prisons, and they wouldn’t support it because of the mere image of prisons planted in our heads by social media and news. I agree that it would be hard to get public support but approaching this from the corporate side of the issue can work. Maybe if prisons were solely ran by state government there would be a lesser increase in prison population in the future. Corporations are incentivized by the money but the government should not have the same incentive therefore it should solely handle the responsibility of rehabilitating citizens.

    2. hey, that is a good point it would be very difficult to convince a majority of Americans to abolish the prison system. Also these prison corporations would never allow for that to happen with their powerful lobbyist in DC. These prisons rake in large pay checks for every inmate annually and they employ lobbyists to increase sentences for crimes. They also lobby to criminalize minimal crimes so that they can increase their inmate count

  24. From the book of “Are Prisons Obsolete?” by Angela Davis, I have clearly realized that the history of prisons is regarded as part of the history of globalization by explaining the expansion of global capitalism. Davis starts by linking some major events in the 1980s including the welfare reform which created a large group of vulnerable people and the privatization and corporatization of services that were until then run by the government (as hospitals and health services – HCA as an example). With the increased involvement of corporations in prison construction, security, health care, food programs combined with the use of prison labor. The bigger demand in prison requires industrial expansion as well. So that is where the term “Prison Industrial Complex” originates from. Now the prisons operate in order to generate profit like all the other institutions in the capitalist world. Therefore, there is not only a need to build more prisons, but and also a need for more prisoners. Davis emphasizes that the prison boom is not caused by crime but by profit as stated here: “that many corporations with global markets now rely on prisons as an important source of profits helps us understand the rapidity with which prisons began to proliferate precisely at a time when official studies indicated that the crime rate was falling (p. 85).”

    In addition, according to Davis, the history of prisons is well related to slavery. She talks about the ideology that people of color, whether African Americans, Latinos are more often judged as criminals than white people are. The high number of African Americans and Latinos in prison these days certainly relieves society from having to deal with social problems such as racism: “Police departments in major urban areas have admitted the existence of formal procedures designed to maximize the numbers of African- Americans and Latinos arrested (p. 31).” Furthermore, the privatization model dominated by the United States is quickly becoming a way of organizing punishment around the world. One example cited by Davis was Turkey’s attempts to transform its prisons by introducing the US style which caused the death of many prisoners as they opposed US-style prisons.

    From my perspective, although Davis calls for prison reforms as she argues that prisons do not solve the crimes, I don’t think it is possible to abolish prisons or believe they are obsolete. If prisons were abolished, what would happen to those who commit serious crimes? Sometimes we think that if prisoners are punished more harshly, they will not commit the crime again. However, crime won’t simply drop because criminals are harshly punished; it only leads to more crimes committed which then leads to more incarcerations.
    In fact, I know very little about this topic and I have never really thought about prisons as another “industrial complex” with the purpose of generating profit. Based on what I read in the book, punishment shouldn’t be the source of economic corporate profit, race and class shouldn’t make a difference on the punishment, and punishment shouldn’t be the only way to promote justice. Nowadays prisons are more than correction institutions that lack justice and equality; they are a way for the big companies to generate profit—the focus is on the capital rather than on the individual correction. Personally, I believe that prisoners need to be motivated to gain knowledge, skills, and to become better people in the society.

    1. I enjoyed reading your response and agree that it’ll be difficult to abolish prisons because the big question is what are we to do with the people who commit serious crimes? Like you said putting people in prison won’t solve anything because there will always be someone else who will take their place and commit crimes, it’s just a never ending cycle. Maybe decades from now there will be a solution but I don’t think prisons will be going anywhere anytime soon.

    2. Yang,

      well said! it will be hard to abolish prison and where on Earth will the convicted be placed? my thoughts exactly. Though you do make a good point, sure placing criminals in prison won’t do any good because others will be doing the same thing, it is better than nothing though. It could be a lot worst though if we decided not to throw any one in prison simply because we might think it is useless, to us it might be, but not to victims.It all comes down to justice.

    3. Hi Yang,
      I really liked your response to reading the book. I myself did not have much knowledge in this topic but after reading the book and class discussions, it really made me think about how prisons are catering big corporations but also revitalizing racism that persisted from the slavery era. I agree that prisoners should be educated and taught more skills instead of negative punishments only, but as we read and discussed in class many states have drastically cut funding for prisoner education.

    4. I like your response about how punishment shouldn’t be a source of economic profit, race and class shouldn’t effect on punishment, and punishment shouldn’t be the only way to promote justice. I think people have lost focus on what prisons are really for so instead of focusing wholeheartedly on promoting justice, equality, and education of the general public it has become a way for corporations to make money. I don’t think prisons can be completely abolished but I agree that something should be done about it.

  25. There are several parallels between the history of prisons and the history of globalization, as presented in the book. After reflecting back to the beginning of the course, where we discussed the history of globalization, a few things stood out to me that associated with the long history of prisons. The author mentions the leasing convict system used back in the 18th century to lend out convicts as labor which reminded me of the similar practices of plantation owners in the South. Both practices were profitable for the prison and the white plantation owner who repressed African- Americans into a mere object without any personal rights and form of profiteering. This parallel shows how racism, even post-Civil Rights Movement, has persisted and has been institutionalized, with the soaring numbers of Blacks convicted. Furthermore, the author discusses the education defunding of prisons that mirrors the repressive strategies used with African American slaves who weren’t allowed to attend schools and universities. The more obvious similarity between the history of prison and globalization is the corporatization of prisons. I was only aware of military industrial complex before reading this book, but now the “prison industrial complex” shows the astounding involvement of for-profit corporations in the increase of prisons overall. It all started to make sense when I read that prison-building started to increase in the 1980’s. Despite the decrease in crime, this aforementioned fact basically underlines the effect of neoliberal policies on exploiting cheap labor in order to reap huge profits. Of course, the prison is where most of your civil liberties are taken away therefore convicts are a vulnerable group for corporations to advance their agenda.
    Prison abolition might seem like a radical idea for someone who hasn’t read this book. Nevertheless, the author manages to advocate her stance and give the readers an insight on both, the prospects of prison reform and prison abolition. I do believe that prison abolition can work but not anytime in the near future. As the book outright put forward in the first chapter, people take prisons for granted and are often only aware of the image of prisons as put forth by the media. Although as we take a deeper look into the role of punishment, imprisonment isn’t really helping convicts rehabilitate but rather it’s catering to a bigger agenda of corporations. I think there needs to be a change in attitudes about our prison system and the general policies guiding the creation of more and more prisons. Lastly, what I found really interesting is the alternative methods to prison abolition which include demilitarization of schools, free healthcare, revitalization of the education system etc. These are some general issues facing our society today but I think they could be achievable alternatives in the near future.

  26. After reading Angela Y. Davis book, “Are Prisons Obsolete?” it made me think twice about whether or not prisons are necessary and “good” for our society. I think that it’ll be almost impossible to get rid of prisons because corporations are making millions from it and the general public will be against it. If people aren’t put in prisons where else will they be? I think that some people who commit horrible crimes such as rape and murder should be locked away because if there are no consequences there is no guarantee that they won’t commit crimes again. However, I do think that it’s sad that corporations are taking advantage of prisons and making a business out of it. Although I don’t think that it’s possible anytime soon to get rid of prisons I think that there are other alternatives to prisons like Davis mentioned. Davis explains that instead of putting people in prison, people who are prone to go to prison such as poor people because some are desperate and will commit crimes to survive – need to receive education and get the proper care for those who are suffering from mental illnesses. It’s interesting because as a society we are told as a young kid that “bad” people are to be put in prison for their crimes, but we should think as to the reason why they are in that situation in the first place. Like Davis said if we look after the people who are in high-risks of being in prison the crime rate will be lower. It is often the black community, undocumented immigrants, latinos, Asian Americans, Middle Eastern (after 9/11), and those who live in poverty that are in high risks of being in prison due to discriminations and racisms they face. Prisons have become highly profitable with detention centers getting paid per head count and corporations who have turned prisons into a business by privatizing them. By privatizing prisons it lowers the quality of life for the prisoners while corporations reap the benefits by making huge profits. We can think of prisons as a part of the history of globalization because globalization allowed for immigrants to come to the U.S., but also immigrants commit crimes because sometimes they can’t find jobs and are uneducated and are desperate to take risks to make a living. Davis explains in page 28, “Particularly in the United States, race has always played a central role in constructing presumptions of criminality.” When black slaves were brought to the US and later on “free”, there were legislations that passed to regulate the free blacks. To further restrict free black saves, southern states developed a criminal justice system to prevent their freedom. Slaves were incarcerated and put in jail, and it’s depressing because present day now the majority of people that are in prison are blacks.

  27. Angela Davis illustrates histories of prisons as part of history of racism, colonialism and neoliberalism in Are Prisons Obsolete. Davis describes how the prisons developed in United States post-Antebellum era as a way for former slave owners to keep exploiting free labor and control former slaves. Even after slavery was abolished, former slave owners seeked for a way to keep exploiting former slaves’ labor and their rights as citizens. When prison was institutionalized, its laws and provisions gave ways for society to restrict black people from accessing equal rights and fair wages for their labor. Laws that came with prisons like the penal system, using free labor of prisoners to build infrastructure, and prisoners having to pay off debt that accrued during their imprisonment are all examples of how prisons were used for exploitation and racism continued on in United States and other parts of the world under colonialism. Prisons are used in advantage of colonialism as it supplies a means for free labor to be exploited and used for profit. Moreover, privatization of prisons add on to the narrative of how history of prisons mirrors history of neoliberalism. The laws and regulations that allowed exploitation of prisoners’ labors provided a new supply of free labor to corporations. Also privatization of prisons turns the institution into a profit-motivated business, which further exploits the labor and livelihood of those who are imprisoned. In the book Davis writes that minorities including African American, Latinos, Middle Easterners, and Asians are the highest in number to face discrimination and exploitation in prisons.
    When it comes to thinking about abolition of prisons, yes it could be helpful in efforts to combat exploitation and discrimination, but I don’t think just by getting rid of an institution will make governments and corporations turn away from neocolonial and neoliberal agendas. Taking issues of neocolonialism and neoliberalism out of the picture, justice and law enforcement system is necessary in a society to implement and maintain safety for the general population. In her book Davis argues that current institution of prisons is a means to exploit certain demographic of people that stems from historical rooted colonialism and racism in history. And the privatization of prisons does nothing to help to achieve the original goal of detaining and rehabilitating prisoners to be sent back to the society, but it actually exploits and leaves the prisoners in worse situation than they were in before. I think to tackle this issue, rather than completely abolishing the institution of slavery, governments and corporations need to be held accountable for their neocolonial and neoliebral agendas. I strongly believe against privatization of prisons, and in order to tackle this issue governments around the world need to face the reality of colonialism embedded in the historical narrative of globalization, and come up with a fair system that where it’s goal is to protect, and serve the people it represents, instead of trying to do business with large corporations.

    1. I like your answer to the abolition of prisons specifically privatized prisons. The fact that corporations get a paycheck for every inmate they maintain isn’t right. In most prisons in the country that are privatized mentally ill prisons are not treated properly.

  28. There has been an increase in the construction of imprisonment systems globally and especially in the USA over the years, with prison populations increasing massively creating overcrowding in the available prison facilities. This is because of radicalization of African Americans and other immigrants as criminals, the increase in women imprisonment and the influence of the prison industrial complex. The prison system discharges the responsibility of the society of dealing with the evils in society whereby wrongdoers are kept away, under surveillance, from repeating their crimes and are punished for their crimes.
    The globalization of capital has fueled the increase in correctional systems by creating excess unemployed immigrants, creating idle land masses due to the absence of other economic activities and economic restructuring fueled by IMF/ World Bank is creating a departure from traditional survival tactics and driving populations into the drug industry. This system has also turned out to be a profitable venture for both the governments and corporations that benefit from the construction of prisons and their maintenance. Consequently, human rights activists are getting concerned about the conditions prevailing in the prisons that prisoners are subjected to. These conditions include hard labor brutality from both the guards and other prisoners and provision of cheap labor.
    The prison industrial complex represents the correlation that exists between prisons and politicians, companies and the media. This relationship presents the prison system as profitable in various ways. Construction companies, engineers and security companies generate multi-billion dollar profits from the construction of sophisticated prison facilities, provision of basic amenities like catering and telephone services and maintenance of these facilities; including surveillance services and TV shows. Additionally, corporations and the government profit from the use of inmates as a source of cheap labor, whereby they do not offer paid leave, maternity leave payments and the lack of unions to fight for the rights of inmate workers. Inmates have been used to construct railroads, clean cities and other duties since the Jim Crow era. Furthermore, governments are benefiting from the construction of the correctional facilities as a substitute for factory closures and failing economies in the rural areas as a way of providing employment to the locals, replacing real estate and universities as pinnacles of development.
    Huge investment is going on in the correctional sector. Private prisons have begun receiving emphasis as helpful partners of public prison systems that address a myriad of problems facing state correctional systems. Failing state prisons are being put up for privatization as a solution for brutal conditions, overcrowding, racism and corruption. On top of this, correctional systems are being sold as commodities in the stock exchange, making stockholders into jailors.
    The media has also contributed to the growth of the penile system, with them creating fear in the society of crime targeting on racial discrimination against the African Americans. Politicians have also used the punishment of crime to garner votes while warden unions have promoted incarceration as the best option to keep the law breakers away from sight.
    Abolition of Prison
    The increase in criminal regulation systems and laws has not reduced crime rates. Instead, over the years, more and more violations are being considered as a crime, with the society avoiding to deal with the issues at hand. The use of criminal law should be limited as a last option, because it is evidently not the best strategy of dealing with social violations. Developing alternative ways to deal with violators of the law can be devised, like fines, probations and restitution including community centers and other ways of keeping violators within the community. Additionally, existing prisons can be transformed into support centers for both the offenders and other homeless people in the society.

    1. Hi Dua,

      I liked reading your opinion, and I also like the idea of transforming prisons into support systems as it would benefit homeless people as well, however, I am still not convinced that fines and probations will do the trick to deal with violators. In some cases it will work but not all the time, people who violate the law in a minor degree sure, just fine them, but people who commit a serious crime, I think it’s bad enough that some are even allowed bail…I just think prisons are a place to isolate people and punish them and the best option right now, is to keep prisons around.

  29. Hi! I liked reading you post. I like that you would want to make it a support system and I think that would be a great idea. I think it would be great if it also benefited homeless people!

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