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Closing Rikers: Competing Visions for the Future of New York City’s Jails | by Anakwa Dwamena | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books
> As of two weeks ago, by the city’s count, there were approximately 7,000 people held across all of New York City’s jails, the majority of whom were at Rikers, at the cost of two billion a year, or around $300,000 per inmate. About 55 percent of the city’s incarcerated are black and 33 percent Latinx, even though only 24 percent of the city is black and 29 percent Latinx. Nearly half of the inmates have some form of mental health issue.

> Given that we know the highest risk factor for incarceration is contact with the criminal justice system, the best way to reduce the number of people imprisoned is not to incarcerate them in the first place. Of 7,000 people in New York City jails in April of this year, almost 5,000 were held pretrial; by some estimates, 40 percent of these would have been released under the New York State bail reform set to kick in at the beginning of next year.

> More than three quarters of people currently in New York jails have not been convicted of a crime and are awaiting trial; of these, 5 percent are in for a misdemeanor or lesser infraction, 22 percent for a nonviolent felony, 38 percent for a violent felony, and 11 percent for a suspected parole violation. Of the remainder, some 8 percent are locked up for an actual parole violation, 12 percent have been sentenced, and 5 percent are in transit or finishing out sentences. The only category of inmate population that is increasing is that of parole violators, a regulation enforced not by the city but by the State Department of Probation; this sanction is under consideration for reform in the New York State legislature as the current statute includes unjust stipulations like punishing violators not by the severity of the infraction but by their original crime.

> ... in 2017, 46 percent of all cases charged as violent felonies in the five boroughs were dismissed or resulted in an acquittal

> Eisenberg-Guyot argued that such abuses are baked in—“the ultimate endpoint of all jail and prison construction: conditions degrade because the dehumanization and violence is the point.”

> Here was the fundamental divergence laid bare: activists distrust the system, and see investment in people as a way to make it obsolete. The city distrusts the people and sees investment in the system as a way to keep them in check.

> Two weeks ago, the president of the Ford Foundation and a member of the Lippman Commission warned against taking an “extreme” position in the Rikers debate and letting “the perfect be the enemy of progress.” Four days later, speaking at Riverside Church, Angela Davis encouraged activists to show up outside the Ford Foundation building in protest, arguing that abolitionism is not an extreme position. Members of grassroots organizations like Decolonize This Place, Take Back the Bronx, and No New Jails showed up to the protest outside the foundation and about 300 current and former Ford Foundation fellows signed a letter in defense of abolitionism as a reasonable aim.
jail  pretrial-detention  abolition  prison-abolition  rikers-island  new-york 
12 days ago by tarakc02
Opinion | How Mandatory Minimums Enable Police Misconduct - The New York Times
They drastically limit accountability for those with the power to take away a person’s liberty.
abolition 
22 days ago by gsch
How Prison Abolitionists Acquired a Former Baby Store in Oakland's Temescal District | KQED Arts
Where months ago the building’s blue facade advertised toys and car seats, now murals and slogans promote a world without incarceration. An image of a white dove ascends from brown hands, and a woman blows the word “Libertad” from a conch shell. Window banners mark local campaigns against police conferences and gang injunctions, and lettering above the 7,000-square-foot corner storefront’s entrance announces the new occupants’ intentions: “Building People Power.”

This will be the new national offices of Critical Resistance. The prison abolitionist group, cofounded 20 years ago by the activist and scholar Angela Davis, recently acquired the $3.3 million real estate through a young supporter who’s vowed to “radically redistribute” her inherited wealth, and is building offices and gathering space to share with allied groups. It’s an improbable fate for commercial property in an area synonymous with the city’s influx of young professionals.

And the unlikely deal required even more surprisingly interlocked interests: The Cabellos, who ran Baby World for decades, sold the building to Critical Resistance after rejecting offers from developers and corporate retailers (including one they blame for helping drive them out of business). They wanted to mitigate gentrification in North Oakland, and were endeared to the nonprofit’s politics by their harrowing experience of the United States-backed coup in their native Chile.
Oakland  baby  store  prison  abolition  donation 
9 weeks ago by Quercki
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Happening in a few hours! What exactly is and what does it look like? Join us in a discussion on how we…
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june 2019 by ac524
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"What I love about and now use in my own thinking — and when I identify myself as an abolitionist, this…
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april 2019 by mathpunk
Is Prison Necessary? Ruth Wilson Gilmore Might Change Your Mind - The New York Times
> Gilmore outlines four categories of “surplus” to explain the prison-building boom. There was “surplus land,” because farmers didn’t have enough water to irrigate crops, and economic stagnation meant the land was no longer as valuable. As the California government faced lean years, it was left with what she calls “surplus state capacity” — government agencies that had lost their political mandate to use funding and expertise for social welfare benefits (like schools, housing and hospitals). In the wake of this austerity, investors specializing in public finance found themselves with no market for projects like schools and housing and instead used this “surplus capital” to make a market in prison bonds. And finally, there was “surplus labor,” resulting from a population of people who, whether from deindustrialized urban centers or languishing rural areas, had been excluded from the economy — in other words, the people from which prison populations nationwide are drawn.

> CSEA [California State Employees Association] came to the understanding, as Gilmore recalls, that a guard is a state worker who has to have a prison to have a job, while state-employed locksmiths, secretaries, janitors and so forth didn’t need to work in prisons but might have to, if the guards’ union got all the resources.

> “When people are looking for the relative innocence line,” Gilmore told me, “in order to show how sad it is that the relatively innocent are being subjected to the forces of state-organized violence as though they were criminals, they are missing something that they could see. It isn’t that hard. They could be asking whether people who have been criminalized should be subjected to the forces of organized violence. They could ask if we need organized violence.”
prison  prison-industrial-complex  ruth-wilson-gilmore  angela-davis  abolition  prison-abolition  decarceration 
april 2019 by tarakc02

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