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Subjects Archives: Incarceration

Prison Labor

The Return of Commercial Prison Labor

In the decades following, the number of prisoners decreased to a historic minimum. But with cutbacks in the welfare state, the prison population exploded from about 200,000 in 1975 to 2,300,000 in 2013 (Scherrer and Shah, 2017: 37) and prison labor for commercial purposes became legal again. Today, about 15% of the inmates in federal […]

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Nothing to Lose But Our Chains: Black Resistance and the Roots of Mass Incarceration

“Nothing to Lose But Our Chains: Black Resistance and the Roots of Mass Incarceration”: An Inter-generational Dialogue Between Former Political Prisoners and Black Lives Matter Activists

Click here to download (for free for a limited time) the Socialism and Democracy special issue “The Roots of Mass Incarceration: Locking Up Black Dissidents and Punishing the Poor.” Introduction by Dequi Kioni-Sadiki On Friday, March 20th, 2015 at the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center in Harlem, the journal of […]

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History of an Infamy

  Translator’s Note: David Ravelo, arrested on September 14, 2010 and imprisoned in La Picota Prison in Bogota, is serving an 18-year sentence.  Appeals have failed, although Colombia’s Supreme Court has been considering his case.  His words below attest to a lifetime of, as he puts it, defending human rights.  Beginning in the late 1980s […]

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Drones, Prisons, and the Rehabilitation of an Abolitionist

On December 10, International Human Rights Day, federal Magistrate Matt Whitworth sentenced me to three months in prison for having crossed the line at a military base that wages drone warfare.  The punishment for our attempt to speak on behalf of trapped and desperate people, abroad, will be an opportunity to speak with people trapped […]

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Colombian Prisons and Prisoners Mirror Class Struggle

Prisoners in Colombia have recently gained new visibility.  Prisoner protest actions are one factor.  Another is discussion at the Havana peace talks of prisoners as victims of armed conflict.  November 2014 marks the two-year anniversary of talks between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government. Beginning on October 20, hunger strikes […]

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Private Prisons Are Unconstitutional

A new report by In the Public Interest, available at www.inthepublicinterest.org/article/criminal-how-lockup-quotas-and-low-crime-taxes-guarantee-profits-private-prison-corporations, documents the increased use of private prisons to house the large and growing population of incarcerated Americans.  We have the highest incarceration rate in the world, five to seven times that of comparable countries.  See my article “Lawyers, Jails, and the Law’s Fake Bargains,” […]

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