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Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003)

Tekijä: Angela Y. Davis

Muut tekijät: Katso muut tekijät -osio.

Sarjat: Open Media Series

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1,0862718,605 (4.21)8
Law. Politics. Nonfiction. HTML:

With her characteristic brilliance, grace and radical audacity, Angela Y. Davis has put the case for the latest abolition movement in American life: the abolition of the prison. As she quite correctly notes, American life is replete with abolition movements, and when they were engaged in these struggles, their chances of success seemed almost unthinkable. For generations of Americans, the abolition of slavery was sheerest illusion. Similarly,the entrenched system of racial segregation seemed to last forever, and generations lived in the midst of the practice, with few predicting its passage from custom. The brutal, exploitative (dare one say lucrative?) convict-lease system that succeeded formal slavery reaped millions to southern jurisdictions (and untold miseries for tens of thousands of men, and women). Few predicted its passing from the American penal landscape. Davis expertly argues how social movements transformed these social, political and cultural institutions, and made such practices untenable.
In Are Prisons Obsolete?, Professor Davis seeks to illustrate that the time for the prison is approaching an end. She argues forthrightly for "decarceration", and argues for the transformation of the society as a whole.

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 26) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
In this book, the author challenges the US to confront the human rights catastrophe in our jails and prisons and argues for an end to incarceration, showing how closely today's mass incarceration system resembles a modern form of slavery. She also addresses how abolition movements in the past have proven successful only after years of persistent struggle.
  PendleHillLibrary | Jan 16, 2024 |
really good as a short primer on the history of prisons, the horrors of prisons, the racism involved, the economy exploitation and the way it links together with capitalism. i could have small quibbles with it on this stuff and I'd love it to have been longer but oh well.

the one major flaw is that it doesn't really answer the question in the title - it says why prisons are bad yet doesn't really show alternatives for how to think about justice for things like murder. imo this is a pretty big disappointment and dulls the impact of the book because it makes the problem seem unsolvable. at the very end it gives a page to describe a case of a white woman murdered by black men in south Africa whose parents forgave them and helped them get jobs in their charity set up after her death. and this seems totally inadequate cause of how limited the applicability is - the power and wealth differential that allowed the parents to be magnanimous and help them out is unusual and hardly common. idk i can't explain it, it just seemed kind of a strange and inadequate example

the only other complaint i have is that it sometimes sounds "academic" in a bad way. it's never annoying or too big of a deal but like i wish she wouldn't describe people as "bodies" i know it has an academic pedigree but saying that "bodies" are imprisoned is dehumanising and dulls the emotional impact ( )
  tombomp | Oct 31, 2023 |
Overall I think this book was great. I really liked how the author discussed the history of American prisons, and how they form the latest link in a chain that includes segregation and Jim Crow laws, the Black Codes of the South, and ultimately slavery. Her point about how people of power - white people - could not imagine a different system for dealing with crime/"crime" than what was in place during their lives, and how these systems did ultimately change, is useful to keep in mind when thinking about prisons and crime in America.

However, I have a major problem with this book.

The author never gives adequate answers to the question of what to do when someone commits a crime. Throughout the book she discusses how we as a society need to become less racist, less sexist, and less discriminatory against poor people, and that this will prevent crime. The final chapter is titled 'Abolitionist Alternatives', and where one imagines she will finally elaborate on true ideas for prison alternatives. But no - in fact she chastises the reader for thinking that there should be a punishment when a crime is committed. The author then goes on to rehash her opinions that better education and job opportunities will make prisons obsolete, and then offers the well-worn ideas that making drug and prostitution legal will also make prisons obsolete.

What about those crimes that are truly crimes, like murder? She suggests that we enact some sort of reparative or restorative justice. Her example of this is of a murder in South Africa of a white American woman (an anti-apartheid activist) by a crowd of black South Africans. Her convicted murderers said they were sorry during the Peace and Reconciliation Commissions, and were eventually given cushy instructor/administrative jobs. That's all that happened when these people took away a person's life, and the author would like America to emulate this setup. I cannot agree with her because I think that we owe more to the victims and the victims' loved ones than a simple sorry.


So aside from my major problem with this book, I feel like this is an excellent read. ( )
  blueskygreentrees | Jul 30, 2023 |
Really well written book by Angela Davis, it's fairly short, lays out all the arguments in a great way, and is highly educational. It explains the prison-industrial complex from top to bottom, from it's beginnings (a system to oppress freed slaves) to it's place in modern society (a system to oppress poor people and minorities, while being extremely profitable).

Her goal is ultimately a system that focuses on healing and support, rather than oppression and isolation. ( )
  Andjhostet | Jul 4, 2023 |
This was the suggested read for March for #LansingReads22, and since I had so loved Freedom is a Constant Struggle, I decided to actually go with the suggested title for once and ordered it. (Then got sidetracked for no good reason and didn't finish it it time to take part in the discussion anyway.)

Davis is brilliant, of course and this is a concise examination of the problem with prisons -- historically and how that got us to now. This seems like it would be an excellent jumping off point for someone new to reading/thinking about abolition. She asks tough questions, but this is just the start of a long and difficult conversation. (An excellent one, at that.) ( )
  greeniezona | May 29, 2023 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 26) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
In this brilliant, thoroughly researched book, Angela Davis swings a wrecking ball into the racist and sexist underpinnings of the American prison system. Her arguments are well wrought and restrained, leveling an unflinching critique of how and why more than 2 million Americans are presently behind bars, and the corporations who profit from their suffering.
 

» Lisää muita tekijöitä

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Angela Y. Davisensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetlaskettu
Ballester, AuroraKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Cuixart, JordiEsipuhemuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Fernàndez, DavidJälkisanatmuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Fortea, IreneKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Mendieta, EduardoToimittajamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
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I should not be listed as the sole author of this book, for its ideas reflect various forms of collaboration over the last six years with activists, scholars, prisoners, and cultural work­ers who have tried to reveal and contest the impact of the prison industrial complex on the lives of people - within and outside prisons - throughout the world. (Acknowledgements)
In most parts of the world, it is taken for granted that who­ever is convicted of a serious crime will be sent to prison.
Sitaatit
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The prison has become a black hole into which the detritus of contemporary capitalism is deposited.
How can we take seriously strategies of restorative rather than exclusively punitive justice? Effective alternatives involve both transformation of the techniques for addressing "crime" and of the social and economic conditions that track so many children from poor communities, and espe­cially communities of color, into the juvenile system and then on to prison. The most difficult and urgent challenge today is that of creatively exploring new terrains of justice, where the prison no longer serves as our major anchor.
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Law. Politics. Nonfiction. HTML:

With her characteristic brilliance, grace and radical audacity, Angela Y. Davis has put the case for the latest abolition movement in American life: the abolition of the prison. As she quite correctly notes, American life is replete with abolition movements, and when they were engaged in these struggles, their chances of success seemed almost unthinkable. For generations of Americans, the abolition of slavery was sheerest illusion. Similarly,the entrenched system of racial segregation seemed to last forever, and generations lived in the midst of the practice, with few predicting its passage from custom. The brutal, exploitative (dare one say lucrative?) convict-lease system that succeeded formal slavery reaped millions to southern jurisdictions (and untold miseries for tens of thousands of men, and women). Few predicted its passing from the American penal landscape. Davis expertly argues how social movements transformed these social, political and cultural institutions, and made such practices untenable.
In Are Prisons Obsolete?, Professor Davis seeks to illustrate that the time for the prison is approaching an end. She argues forthrightly for "decarceration", and argues for the transformation of the society as a whole.

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