Chris's Reviews > Are Prisons Obsolete?

Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Y. Davis
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's review
Aug 17, 2011

it was amazing
Read in August, 2011

Are Prisons Obsolete? opened my mind to really thinking about a world without prisons. Even if you agree that the prison industrial complex is a beast that must be dismantled, it's hard to imagine prisons not existing at all - where would we put all the violent criminals, right? Davis' exploration of the prison system and her analysis of the ways in which criminality is racialized, gendered, and classed to exploit populations for profit, much like slavery, present a clear argument of the need to end prisons as we know them. I won't go into all of the details, as many of the other reviewers have excellently described how Davis covers the history of the modern prison and the multiple structures that funnel people of color and the poor into prisons, but this book has forced me to think about why we believe that this monstrously denigrating system should have a place in our society. It's going to take a revolution in how we view criminality (people do "bad things" but that isn't the totality of who they are), the circumstances that lead to imprisonment (it's more than simply "breaking the law"), and the systems we create to prevent incarceration and promote decarceration (from strengthening education to eliminating unemployment to decriminalizing nonviolent crimes).

For folks who already get it, read the last chapter for suggestions on how to approach prison abolition work.
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message 1: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Wow, this sounds really interesting!

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