Culture and Globalization

Nov 05

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?

66 comments so far

  1. albuquerque
    5:16 pm - 11-6-2012

    The best example of how prisons and globalization are intertwined is seen in the migration of labor from country to country that has directly followed the rise in the global economy. The market always wants cheaper labor, so if the opportunity presents it self the large business owners have no issues picking up and leaving entire communities jobless and in shambles. Davis talks about how the poor are those who are going to prison, and how the prison system has become our societies go to solution to dealing with these massive groups of poverty. As this growth in the global economy continues so will the drive for cheaper labor and thus more and more areas are going to experience what the once booming blue-collar working class in the United States has. So in a way if the trends in globalization do not change for the better then the chances of the US prison system being able to effectively reform are slim to none.
    As for the topic of prison abolition, I find it fairly ridiculous. Regardless of the issues with the current system, prisons still serve a purpose. Honestly it is not possible to abolish prisons without creating mass panic among the none-imprisoned members of our society. It would cause a great disrupt of peoples normal lives and thus it would never be passed through congress. It is almost like suggesting that congress isn’t working just perfectly so lets just get rid of it all together. Reform is essential and needs to be pushed to a higher spot in our nations agenda of things to fix but to abolish the prison system is to uproot a huge portion of how our justice system works and would require a complete rewrite for many other established and essential systems that keep our nation running. When something as expensive as the prison system is broken you fix it, not throw it away.

    • shanaz
      7:58 pm - 11-6-2012

      I like your example of how prisons and globalization are intertwined. I’m having a hard time finding an example, I think the exploitation by private corporations could be another example.

      • tmarchan
        11:38 pm - 11-6-2012

        I too think that the abolition of the prison system would cause mayhem in “the free world”. The best solution is to fix it.

        • rgomez5
          1:48 am - 11-7-2012

          Totaly agree with the idea that the system need an intensive change. and if inmates which in most cases have mental conditions can be helped and become productive after their sentences it will be a great thing for society.

    • jhanse10
      10:33 am - 11-7-2012

      I completely agree with you views on how ridiculous it would be to abloish the prison system! I like the point you made about when someothhing is expensive you do not just throw it away. Great job making your analysis clear and easy to understand.

  2. btaborga
    5:59 pm - 11-6-2012

    The book �Are Prisons Obsolete� by Angela Y. Davis brings up very good arguments and historical facts to understand the truth of our modern prison systems. Angela Davis in her book talks about the possibility of prison abolition, she compares slavery to our prisons now days and gives us a little history on past prisons and how they worked and she also offers alternatives to get rid of prisons. Davis does not believe that prisons are doing what they are meant to do (help troubled people become part of society by isolating them from society). She believes that prisons now days have always had one goal; make money/profit. We can think of the history of prisons of being part of the history of globalization by understanding that prisons have always had a second reason for existing, which is profit maximization and this has been done through the movement of work by �prisoners� since the colonization era. In the 1700�s many English convicts were being sent to Georgia in the United States and also in Australia which helped the English colonize these places. Through colonialism we can see how globalization started in these areas and European and US expansionism into these new territories where they started to have influence. Also, �one in eight� of these prisoners were women, and they were often forced to be prostitutes in the New World. In the 19th century in the United States and in Europe started to institute the �prison system� in Asia, Africa and India which was an important component of colonial rule according to Davis. According to Allen Hornblum, he mentions that throughout history �US prisoners have always constituted a potential source of profit� through medical experiments for large pharmaceuticals. �During the post World War II period, for example medical experimentation on captive populations helped to hasten the development of the pharmaceutical industry. Another example Davis gives on how prisons in the past are part of globalizations history is that during the Civil War, the creation of a profitable punishment industry based on the new supply of �free� black male laborers was created. Emancipated black men and women served as a labor when at this time farmers and planters could no longer rely on slavery. Women at the time did not go to jail as much as they do today, and we could only see men going to prison at the time. Now a day that has changed due to globalization and the rise of women rights; now we have large prisons just for women as well. We can say that prison systems in the past and in the future have always had the intention to make profits as well as �reforming� the prisoners. Another important point Davis mentions is that prison systems have targeted minorities in the past and today because of their legal status or minor crimes. Even though there has been a decline in crime, prisons continue to grow and people are still being thrown into prisons to fill them up and so that these prisons can make profits. In the past, present and future these large prisons will want to make one thing: PROFIT. I think that the abolition of prisons is IMPOSSIBLE and will NOT happen. Davis gives alternatives to prisons and how to get rid of them. I agree with her that these prisons can be very ineffective and do not provide the service they are supposed to (help these people become productive people in society). She says that if we decriminalize some drugs then many people who are going to prison for that reason will no longer go to prison. For those drug addicts there should be better help; for poor people there should be more help. �Poor people deserve to have access to effective, voluntary drug treatment programs�. I think this is not possible and that even though prisons can be bad as she describes, they still serve their purpose and give people security to know that these people (not all of them, but most) are locked up and cannot hurt them or steal from them. Prisons do not need to be abolished in my opinion; they just need to be reformed so that their main purpose is to cut down on crime and so that profit maximization is not the number one priority for these prisons.

  3. shanaz
    8:14 pm - 11-6-2012

    An example to connect globalization and prisons is the exploitation of prison labor by private corporations. Without globalization, the current system would not have a strong relationship with private corporations, governments, correctional communities and the media. Furthermore, throughout the history of the US prison system, prisoners have always been a source of profit. For example, they have interlinked different networks such as universities and corporations.

    I do believe that the death penalty is an outdated form of punishment that violates basic principles of human rights. In the international community, states are hesitant or will not extradite people who have committed atrocities in the US to US officials because of the death penalty. I think abolishing the current prison system is appealing to me, but very difficult to implement. The book states that there may be twice as many people suffering from mental illnesses in prison than there are in all psychiatric hospitals in the United States. This is a big concern for me. Either these prisoners were already mentally unstable when they committed a crime or they became mentally unstable at the prison. Regardless there needs to be change in the whole system. It is very easy for a mentally unstable person to live their life without seeing proper help, this can be very dangerous and unproductive for themselves and society. Furthermore, prisoners should become more stable in this system, not mentally unstable.

    The most shocking part I read was that the military industrial complex and the prison industrial complex mutually support and promote each other. This book was definitely interesting and at some points shocking to read.

    • sbannach
      10:12 am - 11-7-2012

      I definitely agree that the statistics on the mental health of prisoners are very disconcerting. Obviously, if one has a mental disability it will only be compounded and worsened by living in prison. This certainly is not beneficial for anyone, since some disabilities will cause a person to be more violent towards those around them. On the whole, I agree that reform should be the focus of the penal system today rather than abolition.

    • msirico
      11:18 am - 11-7-2012

      Prisons are just another part of the intertwined and globalized world that we live in today. Prions do indeed have strong ties with corporations and governments throughout the nation. Because prisons are such a long standing and ingrained part of modern U.S culture, corporations move in and profit greatly. I agree with your statements regarding the death penalty, and your points regarding mental health issues and prisons are immensely important points to make as well. Many prisoners suffer form all sorts of mental health issues and most often go untreated because of their incarceration. This is just another unnecessary and inhumane treatment that lingers in the U.S prison system today.

    • grivas3
      9:44 pm - 11-7-2012

      I agree with you this book has very interesting points of view and brought to our attention many new ideas that people don’t normally connect together. Prisons and jails are normally something people dont take much in consideration and do not linked prisons and globalization together.

    • ender91
      11:05 pm - 11-8-2012

      It was a surprise for me to learn about the military and prison actually having connections too. There were a lot of things that were shocking in this book. Its because we really don’t think about prisons in our daily life.

      • rgomez5
        1:02 pm - 11-9-2012

        Yeah, I didn’t know either that prisoners were used for military experiments, and it is a very wrong policy in my opinion!

    • msaddat
      12:44 pm - 11-9-2012

      The idea of criminals being labeled “mentally ill” truly baffles me. Who is to decided whether one is mentally ill and another is just a psycho and deserves a life time in prison while the other should participate in rehabilitation? Referring back to a recent incident with the devastating shooting in a movie theatre during the Batman premiere, the individual was labeled mentally instable. Isn’t anyone who deliberately takes the life of a human being, insane? People argued that the sole fact that he was an educated white male, society labeled him as such, but if he were a Muslim, it would have been act of terrorism, or an African American could have been linked to drugs. We allow society to create these labels and norms and it goes beyond our prison system. The penal system is not always there to serve justice, but to also serve the wants of a society.

  4. msirico
    9:26 pm - 11-6-2012

    An example from the book, Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Y. Davis that links the topics of prisons and globalization together would be corporate migration. Corporations migrate from place to place, and often country to country in order to keep up profits. Corporations are always looking for the cheapest labor forces and materials, as well as the lowest labor laws. However, when corporations change locals, they leave behind masses of unemployed. In areas were corporations were the driving force of the economy, this creates turmoil, and the unemployed become the new candidates for prison. Because of this, other corporations, those that have ties in the prison system, make profit. This becomes a cycle. Multinational corporations migrate across the globe in search of the greatest profits, and when they move, they leave behind devastated economies. These newly desolate economic areas are now home to high amounts of unemployed, which become the main contenders for prisons. With higher prisoner populations comes the need for new prisons, which the prison industrial complex feeds upon.

    I think that currently, it is not possible to abolish prisons. However, I feel that, with time, prisons will indeed be obsolete, and other forms of punishment will take the place of prisons. In years past, punishments that are currently seen are barbaric were commonplace, such as corporal punishments and even burying or burning guilty persons to death. Only a few centuries ago, slavery was commonplace. It can be claimed that slavery and prisons are quite similar, as both deprive human rights. When slavery was legal, the idea of abolishment was seen as almost fanatical, and yet in most of the world, even the notion of slavery is viewed as diabolical. If it is possible to abolish corporal punishment and horrific deaths, even slavery, then the future abolishment of prisons is only to come.

    • shusain
      10:14 am - 11-9-2012

      I agree with your example from the book. Also when you mentioned how corporations are looking for the cheapest labor I immediately thought of the film China Blue and the Life of a Gold Farmer article because they were examples of that. However, this week the book, Are Prisons Obsolete? gave us a different perspective on labor from a different point of view.

    • emyers
      10:32 am - 11-9-2012

      I like how you pointed out the fact that many punsihments in the past were abolished meaning that this one might be too. You also mentioned the abolition of slavery and slaverys ties to the prison system, so do you think with the end of modern day slavery will come the obsolescence of prisons as well? The only reason I really can think of prisons being useful is to put those who have trafficked or exploited slaves, whether it be sex, labor, domestic whatever, put them in an immediate holding place to get them off the street. Even then I think the most important thing is education so that these crimes can eventually be prevented in the first place. This goes as well for those punished for intentional murder. I do also think the abolition of prisons is possible, it is just about fixing our society first and the problems that are causing crime to happen in the first place like inequality and neglect.

    • msaddat
      12:36 pm - 11-9-2012

      It’s interesting how you brought up the issue of corporal punishment. With all this talk about prisons I came to wonder why the idea of capital punishment was not talked about in depth. Most countries around the world have prohibited the practice yet the US has not along with a few different countries. But is it being practiced? The question of the effectiveness of the death penalty always comes up but do people really believe that it does not deter criminals or is it simply too expensive? If one side argues that prisons exist to add to the capitalist lifestyle to create a profit, why does the death penalty still exist?

  5. tmarchan
    11:40 pm - 11-6-2012

    That was interesting to me how the military industrial complex and the prison industrial complex intertwine with each other. I did not know that prisoners were used as experiments.

  6. tmarchan
    12:25 am - 11-7-2012

    We can think about the histories of prison as a part of the history of globalization in many ways. One of the ways is the globalization of economic market produced a significant acceleration in the rate of women’s imprisonment inside and outside the United States. Private Corporations need cheap labor to compete in the global market therefore when the globalization increased so did the amount of people in prison. Angela Davis states “Many corporations with global markets now rely on prisons as important source of capital”. This helps us understand why the prison population keeps and increasing and prisoners are sentenced to longer terms. That is exactly why studies shows us that crime rates are falling but there was a boom in the amount of people going into prison.
    After reading Are Prisons Obsolete I gained insight in the cruelties of prison life such as the exploitation of women, the horridness of solitary confinement, and the some of the real reasons why there is a boom in the prison industrial complex. I don’t think prisons can be abolished but there does need to be changes in the system. Not having a prison system is not desirable, in my opinion because it would madness in the street and fear in the general public. I think the government should provide more funding for educational programs and extracurricular activities , especially in the urban areas. I think this will help kids off the street and out of prisons. Psychiatric help should be provided for prisoners of any race, gender, or social background. Women should not be sexually exploited, there should be a close watch on this. Officers should be held accountable if they abuse an inmate. I also think that inmates have the right to educate themselves in prison through books or classes.

    • shill10
      12:09 pm - 11-7-2012

      I also learned about how horrible the solitary confinement conditions can be. I really liked Dickens’ quote on page 48 about how awful it must be to experience “slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain” and how that is worse than torture of the body. I also agree that prisoners should actually be encouraged to educate themselves. I thought that the college that provided classes was a great idea. It gives prisoners a chance at a better life after they get out, and you would think that there would be money in the education industry as well. I don’t understand why they stopped.

    • btaborga
      4:31 pm - 11-8-2012

      I agree when you say that not having prisons is not desirable since there would be madness on the streets. Prisons give a sense of security to citizens (tax payers) and it assures their security and that there money is going to good use and for their protection.

  7. vorozhko
    1:02 am - 11-7-2012

    Slavery, viewed as an economic facet of colonial imperialism, segregated and subjugated persons of color into life long labor; specifically Africans uprooted into captivity via the slave trade.

    The slave trade was a colonial embarkment to exploit non-Christian, non-European, non-white persons, from newly charted territories (using military firepower and disease), as a distinct involuntary labor force that would work as an engine to colonial power and expansion.

    Slave labor became the single most important economic motor for the Southern economy. Once slavery was abolished as a result of the Civil War and the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment, a criminal justice system was developed that targeted black people into a convict lease system initiated by the newly established Black Codes. Specifically targeting newly released black people, the Codes were able to incarcerate and force labor, again, upon the population that was so essential to the industrialization of the South. The developmental process of the prison system continued through efforts of disproportionally segregating and incarcerating lower-income minority groups that would drive the need to expand the penal system and its benefited corporate interests.

    “Both institutions subordinated their subjects to the will of other… reducing their subjects to dependence on others for the supply of basic human services…isolating their subjects from the general population to a fixed habitat…coercing their subjects to work.” (27)

    Davis asserts in her introduction the connection between abolishing the death penalty and terminating (at the least reforming) the prison system. The way we look at the death penalty, maybe analogous to the way we view of the state’s role in providing justice (and rehabilitation) or simply retribution to societal aggressors.

    On a societal level, the state must represent an ideal that overwhelms a personal craving of revenge. A state of sovereignty has to strive towards idealism that is better than the impulses of an individual. What does the state killing of a societal aggressor illustrate? It can specify that the action of murder can lead to the severe punishment of death. Statistically that has not curbed criminal activity.

    Proponents of the death penalty, as I have been one before, argue that such a desire for retribution will emerge if a horrific crime occurs to one personally, to which I agree. As a human, my impulsivity and strong emotional current will overwhelm my reasoning and I may step outside the legal framework to exact vengeance, if not guaranteed through the state. For which I should be accountable for if any actions fulfill said desires. But the state must not yield to such personal subjugation. It must be better, and attempt to prevent the petty cycle of violence. Justice must be executed in discipline with a greater goal of societal rehabilitation.

    • vorozhko
      2:15 am - 11-7-2012

      As daft as the idea of abolishing prisons may sound, the concern to question such an overarching dilemma as the current prison system and how it has facilitated itself within our judicial and financial system makes the argument urgent to explore. I do not believe Angela Davis envisioned her 100+ page memo on the racial discrimination and profit exploitation worry of prisons answer succinctly how prisons may be abolished, as much as why. It is a question that attempts to reconfigure our comfort zone in understanding our justice system and how unjust it has become. I do not know if I can equate today’s prison system to slavery, but as she mentions in the beginning of the book to think about the abolishment of the prison system today is comparable to how would we think about the abolishment of slavery in a pre-1865 America. Let’s be honest, would we really be that radical?

  8. rgomez5
    1:45 am - 11-7-2012

    I found this reading very interesting, and I agree with the idea of connecting prisons with globalization in the idea that globalization moves people from one area to another. However in globalization this process is voluntary and with prison it is obviously not. Also in a globalized world corporations will go to wherever they can find the cheapest labor, and in this case prison seems to be a very good place to find that cheap labor even for war experiments. It is still chocking to me the amount of people from minority groups who are in jail compared with the white majority, the book argues mostly for racial issues dating back from slavery times, but we also need to consider education level, unemployment rates, quality of neighborhoods, and in the case of immigrants many come from very poor backgrounds a factor that may also lead them to be more involved with crime.
    It seems like prisons were an evolution from the middle ages barbaric punishments practiced all over Europe, in which most criminal were just executed and tortured in brutal ways. But I see it very difficult for our society to achieve such level of sophistication for which prisons won’t be needed anymore, and also at least in our life time it will be a very difficult argument for any politician to make (I can’t imagine that topic on a presidential debate). But one of the urgent things I agree on prisons restructuration is the need to correct inmates and make them into better people once they leave jail, psychological treatment is very poor in jails and studies show that many inmates need it, also Davis argues about college programs that are not available anymore for inmates. Is there an interest in keeping inmates ignorant?
    If we can reach a point in which inmates are better of once they leave jail and can actually become successful members of society after paying their dues jails could become a positive asset for society and truly earn the name of “correctional facilities”.

    • jnewman4
      2:08 pm - 11-8-2012

      I cant imagine presidential debates focusing on prisons either! I completely agree that prisons need to be shifted back to its roots of rehabilitation and reflection, after all, that’s what TIME allows. But it seems too far feched to ask for complete abolition. The penal system is not high on national agendas, I guess mainly because MNCs have influential power. I do feel that generations from now they will look at our stsyems as barbaric, just as we view slavery.

    • btaborga
      4:34 pm - 11-8-2012

      Yes, I completely agree that these “correctional facilities” should be called “correctional facilities” once they serve their purpose, which is rehabilitating these people to become productive members in our society. I think its hard to make them part of our society once they go to jail because when they try to apply for jobs it will always appear that they have a criminal record which will limit their opportunities outside prisons, and this will only motivate them to get involved in illegal activities once again.

    • ender91
      11:11 pm - 11-8-2012

      I also don’t think we’re up to a point where an abolishment of prisons is possible now or anywhere in the future. Although after reading this book maybe having no need for prisons should be one of our goals for a better nation. I mean I think politicians should work towards preventing factors like low education, poverty, unemployment, etc. and decreasing those will also affect the number of people who ends up in jail.

      • rgomez5
        1:06 pm - 11-9-2012

        Maybe in the future with an special technology able to control movements or behaviors prisons could be abolished, but also like we spoke in class, economic situations need to be better also so less people feel tented by crime.

  9. kmilburn1957
    6:41 am - 11-7-2012

    Angela Davis’ book, Are Prisons Obsolete? describes the prison system in America as an industrial complex. She makes a good point in saying it is yet another global economy, where the demand for prison construction and maintenance draws workers vying for any and all jobs. They provide jobs for construction workers as the buildings are created, and offer an array of service jobs necessary in maintaining the life that goes on inside those walls. Service companies providing health, education, religious, judicial and other support systems thrive within the prison industrial complex she describes. Likewise, those employed by the prison also live nearby, creating communities who benefit from their housing, sustenance and service needs. These are only a few in “the array of relationships linking corporations, government, correctional communities and media”. Globalization to me is exemplified by the efforts of John Howard in 1773 when he spent years visiting prisons across Europe, documenting the squalid conditions and promoting reform. He compared prisons and prison systems across his region, using those concepts in his own prisons in Bedford.
    I enjoyed the author’s revelation that penitentiaries were originally meant as a solitary place for convicts to ponder their mistakes and repent and reform, and agree with her fully in her assessment that no one involved in the prison systems today feels as if that is the mission of the supermax prisons. Most believe that solitary confinement is a punishment, but the people being sentenced there deserve to live in those conditions.
    I do not believe the alternatives she provided were realistic. She mentioned using schools as a way to alleviate decarceration, as well as offering drug rehab centers, yet she balked at using mental health sanitariums as an option for those dealing with mental health issues. Decriminalization of drug and sex laws was also brought up. Instead of punishing people for breaking the laws it is suggested we just declare them not criminal acts, and this will lessen the number of convicts in prisons. I feel we need some method of punishment to deter crime.
    Ms. Davis’ academic statements lose some validity when she promotes some pretty farfetched claims in her book. On page 38 she basically says if black felons had been allowed to vote, Bush would never have been elected and the Global War on Terrorism would never have happened. Her quote, “If not for his election, the people of Iraq might not have suffered death, destruction and environmental poisoning by US military forces”, is ridiculous. I thought this book was a poor contribution to the class.

    • sbannach
      10:06 am - 11-7-2012

      I agree with your assessment that some of what Davis argues for is unrealistic. However, I disagree with your assessment that her book was not useful to us as students. I believe Davis offers a completely new perspective, albeit one that I do not agree with entirely. While her recommendations and observations are decidedly extreme, surely there is some truth to her side. Thus, I think we should keep her perspective in mind when we formulate our own opinions even if we disagree.

    • jhanse10
      11:07 am - 11-7-2012

      I agree with you that her proposals were extreme however disagree that it was a poor contribution to the class. I think when evaluating topics such as these it is only benificial to look at both sides of the argument and keep them in mind. No matter how farfetched they are.

      • kmilburn1957
        9:01 pm - 11-7-2012

        You know, I am going to have to agree with you both. I stand corrected about claiming this book was a poor contribution to our class. Even though I did not like the author’s opinions, the discussion that followed in class was one of the most lively, spirited one we have ever had. I really enjoyed class and hearing everyone’s opinions.

  10. sbannach
    10:02 am - 11-7-2012

    In her book “Are Prisons Obsolete?,” author Angela Davis contends that the prison system in the United State is a racist institution and should therefore be abolished. To support her claim, she points to the history of slavery in her jarring criticism of prisons. Obviously, the global slave trade was based around racist principles. However, even after slavery was abolished in the US–a shocking development at the time–politicians passed provisions that oppressed the newly freed African-American population known as Black Codes. These codes and public opinion cemented the conception of criminals as people of color in the American psyche. Davis argues that this still holds true today; African-Americans and other minorities are more likely to be targeted by police and imprisoned than whites. Because racism runs so deep in the prison system on the whole, it should be abolished on principle. Thus, according to Davis our entire penal system is the result of a long-standing racist sentiments that stem from a past form of globalization.

    The notion of abolishing the prison system is certainly a shocking proposition. Nobody wants violent criminals who are likely to commit similar crimes again to walk free. However, the majority of people in prison today have not committed crimes such as murder, assault, or rape. Indeed, a huge population of prisoners have been convicted on charges of drug possession, a relatively minor offense in comparison with the killers and rapists they live alongside. While prison abolition in its entirety may be too extreme a reaction, reform should without a doubt focus on rehabilitation and education for those accused of drug crimes. Changes in federal drug law should also follow with decriminalization of relatively harmless controlled substances such as marijuana which would greatly reduce the amount of prisoners. On the whole, the prison system should be focused on reform rather than abolition.

    • shanaz
      10:34 am - 11-7-2012

      I agree that there should be changes in federal drug laws. I don’t think the issue would be solved there though, I think if we want change it would have to start with private corporations.

    • msirico
      11:10 am - 11-7-2012

      I do agree with your feelings towards drug law reform. I also feel that it is a very god way to cut back on the amount of prisons and prisoners. This could have a great affect on the current prison industrial complex.
      I also agree with your statements that prisons are racist institutions that have to be changed. Often, reform is a long and hard-won process, but, outside of abolishing the prison system entirely, is something that must be done in the years to come.

    • kmilburn1957
      9:06 pm - 11-7-2012

      I liked the way you synthesized her thoughts on racism and agree totally with your thoughts that we should perhaps concentrate on reform vice total abolition. I also liked the idea offered in class tonight that we not mix the violent, major offenders with the majority of the prison population that had committed comparitively lesser crimes.

    • grivas3
      9:48 pm - 11-7-2012

      I agree with you comment about laws. I believe we can not linked someone that is in jail for drug use and something that is in jail for committing a murder in the same category. One is certainly more dangerous than the other.

  11. jhanse10
    11:04 am - 11-7-2012

    Angela Davis’s book, “Are Prisons Obsolete” gave me a chance to learn more on a topic that I never was introduced to. It allowed me to educate myself on what prisons were used for, who really was in prisons and ask myself whether or not they were fulfilling their purpose of being created. It is interesting to find links of prisons to the process of globalization. It seems that soon after slavery was abolished a criminal justice system came into play to retake freedoms away from African Americans. Also we can link prisons to globalization if we just see the importance of economic factors in both.
    This book gave interesting perspectives as well as suggestions on where we would be as a nation if we had a different system for our criminals. What I find concerning is the suggesting to abolish prisons within the U.S. After reading this book and other articles in the past week for class I agree that our criminal system needs reforms. We need to reallocate funds to help with education and rehabilitation but we do not need to eliminate prisons all together. This is a ridiculous idea. Just think of what that would do in terms of public safety, especially after reading that majority of prisoners have mental conditions. I know that most people after being educated on this subject will argue that majority of prisoners today in our criminal justice system are not intense criminal such as murders, or rapists, but still if we get rid of the system all together those people walk free on our streets. The solution is not to get rid of the system all together, for that will hurt our country more and not really fix anything. The fear of being punished when doing something wrong will be eliminated and with this what will make law abiding citizens want to continue their good behavior if there are no repercussions.
    Overall I found this book interesting and enjoyable to read. I think it brings a lot to our class and gives us a chance to step back and look at different perspectives as well as proposed solutions. It also is extremely beneficial because this topic is not a popular one and I know that before we got to this topic, I had never read studies on these issues.

  12. grivas3
    11:07 am - 11-7-2012

    Angela Davis’ book was very interesting to read and I really enjoyed it. We can certainly connect the history of prison with part of the history of globalization throughout the book. For example, the book described how prisons have become a new form of market and cooperations are making a profit from these prisons. This can be linked to globalization because we are now looking at a global economy due to the different connections between the prisons and cooperations wanting to make profits from incarcerations. This profit made from prisons is what is causing people to have longer sentenced in jail and even though some research show crime is decreasing the amount of people placed in prison seems to be increasing. In addition the book also connects how markets are always in search for cheaper labor. The poor and minorities are the ones mainly going to jail and society has connected prisons as a solution to poverty.

    The book made a couple of good points and it better allowed me to understand why the history of prison and history of globalization are connected. I was also able to learn the many difficulties and exploitation these people have to face in prisons. I believe the concept of prison abolition is not something possible because there’s too many people against this concept, like the author mentioned towards the end of the book what will replace prisons is always the question that many have and does not allowed to move forward with the idea of abolition. I believe this is something that is not possible or desirable because we must have sort of control and authority to keep everything on order and assure public safety. Furthermore, there is certainly a need for improvement in the prison system and something that guarantees these people’s human rights. There should also be more funding towards programs that help people stay off crime and situations that could lead them to prison.

    • shill10
      12:01 pm - 11-7-2012

      I think that your sentence about prisons being a solution to poverty is very insightful. I also agree with everything you stated in the second paragraph. It seems apparent that prisons need to undergo some reforms to make the conditions for prisoners more acceptable. However, I don’t see the complete abolishment of prisons occurring anytime soon either. Too many people believe in the system, and I agree that we need some type of prison to keep actual criminals off the streets.

    • shusain
      10:23 am - 11-9-2012

      I agree with the second half of your post. I also think prison abolition is something that is possible, but won’t occur anytime soon. If anything there needs to be an improvement in the prison system.

  13. saehwan72
    11:46 am - 11-7-2012

    The history of the U.S. prison system was derived as a temporary form of detention awaiting barbaric punishment. Eventually the incarceration and detention of the person at fault became the punishment. The original forms of punishment were adapted at first in the U.S. originated from English common law. This alone shows the impact of colonization in terms of the prison system and how it manifested a brand new form of incarceration and punishment. “It is as if prison were an inevitable fact of life, like birth and death.” This particular quote shows the common conception of prisons in our lives today. Although this notion makes it seem as if prisons and our current prison system have been in place for a long time, but this form of punishment is relatively new to the world. What is alarming though is that within its short period of existence the U.S. prison population has multiplied beyond belief. “The prison has become a black hole into which the detritus of contemporary capitalism is deposited. Mass imprisonment generates profits as it devours social wealth, and thus it tends to reproduce the very conditions that lead people to prison.” Just as in globalization the effects of capitalism can be seen in the current state of the prison system. There are many private corporations that provide the food and services required to run these prisons that can reap the benefits of prison expansion. While capitalism is being displayed in its finest form, the social wealth of our nation is rapidly depleting. Davis also emphasizes the state of racism and sexism that is so prevalent in the incarceration of these prisons inmates as well as the prisons themselves. Latin American and African American prison populations have expanded at a rate that should be alarming to both communities. However Davis also explains the vicious cycle of the possibility of imprisonment in these communities. Those that live in these poverty and crime stricken communities not only face harsh circumstances that raise their chances of landing in prison, but they also have to face the chances of being incarcerated at a much higher rate. The concept of prison abolition in my opinion is both desirable and possible. However it would be both a grueling and time consuming task. As Davis states, numerous times with in this novel, many African American slaves could never have foreseen being free equal individuals in society. Look at the U.S. now and all the social change that has taken place in the short span of our country’s existence. I believe that complete prison abolition may be hard to implement, but a bigger focus on rehabilitation rather than imprisonment is quite possible in the near future.

    • acoreas12
      12:39 pm - 11-9-2012

      I agree with you that a bugger focus should be placed on rehabilitation rather than imprisonment, because I don’t believe isolating these people and keeping them behind bars is really beneficial to them or society. It’s very saddening to know how racially and class based the system is in regards to the prison population. Children who grow up in poverty and crime stricken communities, like you said shouldn’t have more chances of going to prison for the circumstances they are in. I think we need to help these communities first, to stop this cycle from perpetuating itself over the next generations.

  14. emyers
    11:48 am - 11-7-2012

    The histories of prisons and globalization are interestingly correlated. Many people refer to globalization or think of it as being Westernization, the west imposing its “democratized” values and ideologies on the rest of the world. On page 100, Davis states that “the global prison economy is indisputably dominated by the United States”. The prison industrial complex began during the rise of global corporations and facilitated through “the global persistence of racism”. It was seen as a profit making machine for not just corporations that run and own facilities like Corrections Corporations of America and Wackenhut, but also for food companies like Sodexo that run the dining halls of many prisons worldwide, phone companies like Verizon, AT&T, and Ameritech, construction companies, etc… This brings the question that Davis raises of the relationship between global capital and the spread of US style prisons throughout the world. Countries like South Africa, Australia, and Turkey have adopted our policies. Davis states how imprisonment of “criminals” is more closely related to political agendas, potential profit to be made by corporations, and crime in the media than actually reducing crime, meaning that the governments, corporations, and media involved in the global economy are the ones contributing to the expansion of the prison system rather than an increasing amount of crime. The time when the prison industrial complex was actually emerging, the rates of crime had seen a significant decrease. On page 94, Nils Christie and Norwegian criminologists argues that “criminal justice policies must ensure a sufficient number of incarcerated Americans regardless of whether crime is rising or the incarceration is necessary”, meaning that for as long as the prison industrial complex is in our system, our laws and regulations will be highly influenced by the amount of prisoners needed to fill the existing institutions. One characteristic of the PIC is rapid expansion so to keep that up, I foresee more and more strict laws concerning our freedoms. This is not only true of prisons in the US, but worldwide as the corporations are global. Davis states that in the 1980s when the globalization of capital began, the de-industrializing of societies created a large amount of people without jobs and created the need for social welfare programs run by the government. Eventually many of these programs were privatized and many people were dependent on them and not able to get out of their impoverished situations, forcing them to commit “crimes” to survive, seemingly as a tool for population control. The media comes into play here by all of the sudden coming up with more programs related to crime and punishment and displaying the “need” to contain and confine all the “wrong-doers” in our society, making them seem more apparent and evil than the reality.
    As regards to the abolition of prisons, I 100% say yes this needs to happen. It is too apparent that prisons are there to make profit and control the population whether that be for race, gender, or societally strategic reasons. Inside prisons there is not much to do, see or learn, possibly making the inmates hostile towards each other, towards life itself, and altering their minds psychologically, which is all beneficial for the corporations running them because it keeps them coming back, I think that all people have the ability to make good decisions and be empathetic towards others, but personal life experiences could alter these thoughts making people do things that are wrong, like murder, theft, and rape, but with the right institutional help and support they can be fixed and see a new light. That is not going to happen by putting someone in a cell and continuing to treat them as if they are worthless terrible people, because it is probably those feelings that subjected them to commit such wrong doings in the first place.

  15. shill10
    11:56 am - 11-7-2012

    First off, I thought the book was very interesting. It is cool that it was written by someone who has been in prison and experienced the life of a prisoner. For me, the part about the “internal security search” also provoked some thought. I do want to feel life prisons are secure places, but it seems like sexual abuse to receive these searches. There were a lot of ideas in the book for reforming prison systems, but Davis wants to abolish the prison altogether. While I understand the idea in theory, I think the concept is a little crazy. I do not see it as a possible solution anytime in the near future.
    I agree that there is a prison industrial complex. On page 15 she states that people want to believe that prisons reduce crime and provide jobs and stimulate the economy. I also believe that poor and non-white people are more likely to end up in prison. On page 30, Davis writes about how racial profiling is proof that crime is associated with color. I also found it interesting that so many women are heading to prisons recently. While I understand Davis’ belief that we should abolish prisons and make changes to drug, sex and immigration laws, I think that those issues require prison sentences. I think the real changes should be in how long the sentences are made.
    The history of prisons was also interesting and related to globalization. Beginning with the similarities between slavery and prison, Hirsch writes about how slaves were used for labor as were convicts and how both groups were forced to rely on superiors for basic needs such as food and shelter (pg. 27). Labor was needed as part of globalization to keep the prisons running. As the prison industry grew, more labor was needed. Also as other companies such as Dial, Famous Amos, and phone companies (pg. 99) became involved with the prison industry, globalization spread to prisons world-wide.

    • acoreas12
      12:39 pm - 11-9-2012

      The part of the “internal security search” was defiantly a part that made me think how effective these institutions are in punishing the “criminals”. I mean no matter what crime was committed, I do not believe these people should be mistreated and abused this way. It’s disturbing to know that these kinds of incidents occur worldwide and nothing is really being done because it happens behind closed doors.

    • hakunanahtata
      6:48 pm - 12-10-2012

      I think that it is important to look at why the crime is committed and what can be done to prevent the crime in the first place. The prison system seems unchangeable because it has been ingrained into our minds as normal and the only way to live. I understand where your coming from and think this book helped me understand the social constructs and normalization that has been facilitating the prison industrial complex at the expense of American citizens.

  16. jnewman4
    12:18 pm - 11-7-2012

    Prisons have a long history, beginning in the nineteenth century. (Prisons that implement imprisonment as a form of punishment, not just to hold prisoners until their punishment) In the beginning, prisons were predominantly consisting of white males, for all blacks were still under the contract of slavery. After the abolition, strict laws made it possible to “re-incarcerate” blacks under a new contract; however, imprisonment and slavery show appalling parallels. For example, whites though blacks couldn’t work without strict supervision, the penal system reiterates this message. Also there was the use of chains, lashes, and Black Codes that criminalized being black. The penitentiary demographic swiftly changed as more and more blacks were thrown in.
    The modern day US penal system is said to be harsh, degrading, and… a lucrative business. It was only a matter of time before private contractors began to jump on the bandwagon. Prisons, in simple terms, eliminate the “wage force”. All of the men and women who are incarcerated would potentially be considered the reserve army for blue collar jobs. However, with an enormous surplus, the system had to find a way to deal with it. It certainly is not a coincidence that poor people of color are the faces of this “surplus army”. With over 2million bodies in prison, the US has the opportunity to rely on outsourcing for cheap labor. This system is a part of globalization because it illustrates how state sovereignty is being shifted to multinational corporations. As soon as the US penitentiary became a source of capital, it became apparent in countries such as Australia and England where immigrants are the detainees.
    I think prison abolition is extremely desirable; at least in the US where the system is backwards and not focused on rehabilitation. Possible? I think not. There are too many influential people that contribute to the social panic on crime. And too many people who cannot imagine life here without the penal system. And too many people who allow the system to thrive. I could say all these things about slavery, but I personally feel that slavery simply evolved. It can be abolished on paper, but not in the minds of people.

    • kmilburn1957
      9:13 pm - 11-7-2012

      Wow! Well written, jnewman4! I especially liked your statement about it not being” coincidence that the poor people of color are the faces of this new surplus army.”

      • hakunanahtata
        6:39 pm - 12-10-2012

        Great analysis. I agree that it is apparent that the 2 million people behind bars are just being put away to decrease the work force thus these people are not calculated/included when the unemployment rates come out and that the system itself is a profit making machine that relies on the lives of primarily poor minorities. This is a modern day form of slavery and a hard conglomerate to take on but I think there is hope with the changing social structures, changing demographics and increased flow of information.

  17. sarahariri
    12:41 pm - 11-7-2012

    The histories of both globalization and prison are very similar. The United States is not only considered a leader in the globalization of American culture, but in imprisonment as well. According to Davis, the United States makes up less than five percent of the world’s population. However, more than twenty percent of the world’s prison population is found in the United States.
    Like globalization, the side effect of imprisonment is discrimination. Latinos and African-Americans make up most of the prison population, according to Davis, and California is home to the largest women’s prison in the world. Davis also argues, if we can deem prisons as “racist institutions” we can declare them obsolete. I personally believe that, like the discrimination brought on by globalization, the discrimination in prisons will not be enough to make them obsolete by society’s standards.
    I personally found Davis’ alternatives to the prison system to be very interesting. I believe that United States prisons are not a place for rehabilitation (not just in terms of substance abuse but in terms of emotional and psychological issues as well). Our current prison system is more of a place where people become worse off than when they entered. Education programs and health programs (both mental and physical health) could be a much better and more productive alternative to the current prison system. The problem, in my opinion, is that I doubt that society would accept this idea as the idea of “prison” has been “sold” to us so well. I think it would be difficult for most people to consider an alternative.

    • jnewman4
      2:22 pm - 11-8-2012

      I agree with Davis’ comments about the prison being obsolete because it can be labeled as a racist, and i add sexist, institution. Racisms allowed the system to flourish. Her alternatives are quite interesting, in the sence that they can never be nationally accepted. Revatalize education, demilitarize schools, free universal health care, decriminalization, and a justice system not based on retribution. Ijust feel that even with drastic changes, prisons will still be in the backgroung, as an alternative itself.

  18. shusain
    12:43 pm - 11-7-2012

    The book for this week�s reading was really interesting and informing. I liked Davis�s style of writing because she was very passionate about the topic and covered every section thoroughly. The first half of the book goes into detail about the history of prisons. Davis ties in globalization along with labor. Historian Adam Jay Hirsch gives us insight of comparing prisoners to slaves by stating, �Like southern slaves, prison inmates followed a daily routine specified by their superiors,� (pg. 27).� Examples that he gave that involve both prisoners and slaves left these people to depend on others for every day human life such as food and shelter. All slaves and prisoners were cut off from other people because they were confined to a permanent environment. They were both given every day work to do which was for longer hours and very low pay, if any. Moving on, Davis states on page 28 that race has always played a key role in criminality, especially in the United States. Right after the Civil War, the criminal justice system began punishments that were connected with slavery. I was also very intrigued when Davis mentioned the expressions of racism upon Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Muslim�s during the aftermath of September 11th because I often feel like that�s one aspect that is not talked about repeatedly. Racism is found upon anyone, not just African Americans and whites. She also suggests the process through which incarceration developed into the key method of state imposed punishment was very much related to the rise of capitalism and to the manifestation of a new set of ideological circumstances, (pg. 43). I�m not completely sure where I stand with prison abolition. I do agree and understand that prisons are a place for improvement, yet there are times that people in prison are treated extremely badly which I know especially after reading Davis�s book. In a way prisons should definitely not be abolished, rather there should be a call for progress. The prison system was created in order to decrease crime as well as reform criminals in the first place and should continue to do so in a not so torturous manner.

  19. hakunanahtata
    12:46 pm - 11-7-2012

    The histories of prisons in the United States are intricately intertwined with globalization. During the American Revolution jails were implemented as an alternative to capitol and corporal punishment that was the norm in Europe. Up until the abolishment of slavery 99% of the jails housed white men, after the 13th amendment was passed jails soon filled with African Americans. In the 1980s the deindustrialization of the United States began due to globalization and the redistribution of capital. This caused towns all over the US to go bankrupt. Along with the advent of jobs being outsourced overseas so corporations can make bigger profit margins Reagan declared the war on drugs. The war on drugs created new stricter laws that purposefully targeted minorities. Between 1852-1933 only 9 prisons were built in California. Once the deindustrialization and war on drugs began the amount of prison construction skyrocketed with 9 prisons being built in just 5 years between 1984 and 1989. What was created in the 1980s is the prison industrial complex. Money has been rerouted from social programs that helped the poor to the prison system because it is more profitable for private companies. Towns that were left with no industry for people to work became targets of the prison industrial system. With the loss of capitol because of competition with other countries there tax base was down and prisons became the new generator of jobs and capitol. This is spreading to other countries especially the imprisonment of immigrants. The concept of prison abolition is difficult to fathom because I just like everyone else has lived with the prison/legal system as a normal part of our lives. Angela Davis gives some great ideas of how to abolish prisons by addressing the causes of the symptoms (crimes). Decarceration must begin by deconstructing the relationships that create the prison industrial complex starting with demilitarizing schools and making them more conductive for learning. Creating new institutions that help impoverished people and people at risk for prison is another alternative. I think the abolishment of prisons is desirable and attainable.

    • saehwan72
      1:48 am - 11-9-2012

      I also found it very interesting that instead of investing money into prevention programs, money was being funneled into the prison system. When incarceration rates rise out of the possibility of profit, I think there is something seriously wrong with the prison system.

    • sarahariri
      12:53 pm - 11-9-2012

      I find it interesting that Reagan’s “war on drugs” was more so a war on minorities. I think racism is a big driving force in the prison system today.

  20. acoreas12
    12:53 pm - 11-7-2012

    According to Angela Davis, prisons have become a “natural” or normal way of looking at punishment for criminals. Unfortunately, the majority of these “criminals” are not only poor people, but people of color as well, specifically African Americans. Looking at the demographics alone, Davis argues that prisons are indeed racist and need to be addressed in order to stop this injustice that is going on worldwide against this select group of people. Globalization has allowed prisons as an institution to evolve and grow worldwide, because of the benefits (profit) governments, corporations’ even military gain from these establishments worldwide. Davis mentions how the military makes money by providing “law enforcement technology” to prisons (87). Similar to the prisons are the “sweatshops” in China, Guatemala and Bangladesh that use the most vulnerable and impoverished populations for practically “free labor,” as do the prisons with their prisoners. Unfortunately, the exploitation and violation of rights (labor and human), still exist and nothing is really done to help those affected by this corrupt system.
    Another way globalization and prisons are connected is through the influence US prison system has on the global prison economy and countries worldwide. An example would be” the spread of ultra-modern ‘super-maximum’ security prisons” to areas like Turkey and South Africa (101). This idea that crime rates decrease due to prisons is a commonly used justification by governments/corporations in expanding the construction of such institutions, while keeping “social control” and making profit. But profit off of whom exactly?
    I personally would not like to see prisons be abolished but I would like to see some kind of reform like Davis mentions. I think there is a need for them, because some people who commit heinous crimes need to be locked up, but not mistreated and abused. It seems very unlikely that prisons in today’s society would be abolished because of the high degree of dependence governments and corporations have on them, as well as the general’s public perception on crime and punishment. We need to stop looking at these people as goods, and see them for what they are – human beings. With this said I find it appalling to know that we have in our prison around “20% of the world’s prison population” and the majority consisting of African Americans. This alone shows how unjust the system is, and we need to change it before we lock up half the world.

  21. scamp3
    12:54 pm - 11-7-2012

    In Angela Davis’ book “Are Prisons Obsolete?” she discusses the history of prisons, as well as ways to deal with the prison system we have today. Although, for Davis we would not really be dealing with the prison system we would be getting rid of it. While many of the issues and topics discussed within the novel were somewhat difficult and appalling to read, it is the truth and it is a hard truth to bear. I agree with Davis on her claims that many of the inmates in jail today are treated in such horrid ways that things need to change. Davis explains the history of slavery and it’s connection to the prison system well, and while that racism most definitely still exists, I do not believe abolishing prisons is a realistic solution. I absolutely think that things need to change, such as the amount of people being put into jail for crimes such as drug use. Most of these people need help and therapy. The therapy of being confined with other criminals, who will either abuse them worse than how they were being treated before they entered the system or teach them ways of becoming better criminals, is a system we need to reform. I believe there should be more help for these types of people, as well as the mentally ill. How is okay to put criminals with no history of violence in with those who murder, rape, kidnap, ect? I believe the prison system does hold some merit when it comes to those who are violent and repeat offenders, but there should be some form of rehabilitation that goes further than sit in a cell and think about what you’ve done. Although, all of this is easier said than done. Davis wants to abolish prisons, but I wonder what happens to the people who are unable to be rehabilitated? Where do they go? I do not think crime is something that will ever stop, but hopefully we as a culture will continue to find the best solution for those who need the help. All of this definitely ties into globalization. Specifically the global economy. I would say one of the main reasons people are not getting the help they need within this prison system, is due to the fact that too many people are greedy, and instead of helping the way they are supposed to, all they truly care about is making a profit. It is easier and cheaper to continue following the system we have instead of using our resources to find better solutions, or to even test said solutions out. I do not think we will be stuck in our ways forever, though it will take a long time for things to change.

    • rafae309
      1:45 am - 11-11-2012

      I agree that that terrible conditions in prisons need to change. Abolishing prisons is definitely not a realistic option but the laws must also change to stop sentencing drug users to lengthy jail time instead of rehab or proper help. Your post was very interesting to read and I liked the realistic conclusion.

  22. rafae309
    1:06 pm - 11-7-2012

    Angela Davis argues that even after the abolition of slavery, which had previously provided with cheap and abundant labor, racism continues to prevail through the targeting and imprisoning of minorities and cultivating cheap labor by filling up prisons with inmates. It is also mentioned how companies and corporations manage to make huge profits out of these prisons, by having a guaranteed market for their products by supplying food, first aid medical supplies, infrastructure, technology and security systems etc. This way, by managing to keep prisons full and maintaining a demand for these necessary items, private corporations and businesses have not only managed to have an incentive in making laws and policies which target minorities and poor people, they have also realized that they can make huge profits for themselves and change and pass laws as they deem fit to keep the steady supply of slaves, in this case, prisoners. Even after the abolition of slavery, the people/profiteers managed to come up with the Black Codes, which targeted the blacks and other minorities for imprisonment and therefore maintain a supply of cheap and almost free labor without any form of labor costs. Our entire system had also brainwashed other people into believing the African-American people could never do the same jobs as the white people and could never be as capable of performing at the same level.
    The concept of prison abolition is completely new for me and the first question which came to my mind was: If we abolished the prison system, where would the millions of criminals and prison inmates go? Who would take them? How would they be punished or incarcerated for their crimes? Reforms in the prison system are what are truly required. Just because the prison system right now isn’t perfect or is being manipulated for profit doesn’t mean the entire system should be abolished. There will always be a need to keep the mentally deranged, social psychopaths and criminally driven individuals away from the law-abiding and peaceful society. After reading the book I realized how many problems persisted in the current prison system, including mistreatment of prisoners, physical and mental abuse, and solitary confinement. However, if abolishing the prison system means that my neighbors could turn out to be mass murders, serial killers, rapists, then I’m fine with the idea of incarcerating the criminals who have been charged and found guilty. The system is obviously not perfect, but it’s going to aggravate the situation on the streets and in the outside free world, creating mass panic, fear, chaos, and further problems of communication and cooperation among the people. To improve the conditions of prisons, one can think of many reforms: making correctional officers fully accountable and responsible for their involvement in exploitation of women and abusing their authority, providing psychiatric help to those who need it, providing resources for self-improvement and workshops on how to fit back into a life outside of prison once their sentence in completed, and providing incentives and rewards for good behavior and cooperation. Only when reforms like this take place can there be any hope of life for prisoners returning back to normal after completing their sentences and trying to resume their lives in society.

    • saehwan72
      1:47 am - 11-9-2012

      I agree with you the concept of prison abolition was completely new to me as well. I also wondered what would happen to all the dangerous people that inhabit the prisons. I still think prison abolition may occur, but better alternatives will need to surface before it gets taken into serious consideration.

    • sarahariri
      12:57 pm - 11-9-2012

      I agree with how you said laws can be passed in ways that keep prisons full. Like globalization, minorities and poor people are usually the victims. It’s really a shame as these groups are disadvantaged in the first place.

  23. ender91
    1:09 pm - 11-7-2012

    One part that connects the histories of prisons to the histories of globalization is when companies move their infrastructures for cheaper labor, Davis says that those many workers and their families who lose their jobs because of this move are usually the ones who are vulnerable to the likelihood of a prison sentence. So prisons are linked to globalization in a sense that prison is a consequence of a globalizing world. The author also references Gilmore’s analysis about the surplus of capital, land, and labor and about the false promises prison -building comes with from our previous reading. This is another similarity to the history of globalization. The town is promised of economic growth and new job opportunities with the building of a prison in their land but the town do not reap any of those benefits once the prison is built. In the same way, factories in China and others and those free zones in Jamaica were supposed to provide jobs but the workers can barely live by their salaries and job security is a myth for them. These prisons and factories does not make life any better for these people. Another aspect of the prison system that links its history to globalization is in the racism and gender. I was reminded of the readings on Cuban and Dominican Republic’s tourist economy and how racism plays a part in the workers and the enforcement of those laws related to tourism. The ones who suffer most are people with dark skins. It was interesting to read about how in the history of prisons, penitentiaries in the North after the Civil War were using the same punishments given to slaves. Gender also plays a part in prisons and Davis wrote about the punishments given to women prisoners. The treatment given to women were completely different to men. Some form of sexual harassment is experienced by the women and then forms of rehabilitation given to women are by giving them domestic training. I still don’t believe in the abolishment of prisons because I don’t think there is a feasible alternative to prisons but there are so many things that needs to be fixed concerning the prison systems.

  24. navery
    3:34 pm - 11-7-2012

    I felt that Davis brought up a really good main point with his book about prisons. He brought up a point that questioned that validity of prisons. In his work, he asked whether prisons were a solution to make nations safer or just a left over, out-dated practice from problems of the past.

    It was noted that slavery and the imprisonment of african americans in America created many influences when it came to the creation of prisons. When the concept of slavery was imported into American it was an influence that was resulting from globalization. Davis adds that slavery could have left a great imprint on today’s prisons that creates segregation and continued racism.

    Davis also continues to say that the concept of imprisoning someone for punishment did not become institutionalized until the nineteenth century in America. It had first arrived from the United Kingdom where it had previously been made a permanent feature in the eighteenth century. He also reminds us that in the nineteenth century many laborers were kept beyond their proper work hours in order to get more profit; this is almost exactly the same mechanism that prisons have come to use in order to make profit today. Instead of keeping workers longer, they try to make sentences longer and create laws that would make it easier to persecute and imprison more people for money.

    • rafae309
      1:40 am - 11-11-2012

      I found your post very interesting. I also agree that they they would make the workers work long hours, and also enable a system in which they would be able to arrest, prosecute and sentence longer terms by creating laws for their own benefit.

  25. navery
    11:25 am - 11-14-2012

    I believe that the history of prisons can provide excellent examples of globalization. As we learned in class, prisons can actually be institutions made for money instead of social justice. I find this to be an especially pertinent example as Davis explains in his book. She describes prisons to be something that possibly could be very well outdated. In fact, she reminds us that prisons did not always exist in our society. It was something that was created in the past, that was introduced into our culture through the interaction of nations. This may be one of the more negative consequences of globalization. This is the same case as slavery. Davis describes the similarities to slavery to today’s prisons where the object is to keep as many people enslaved or behind bars as possible in order to get the most profit or benefit. Before prison’s exists there were many cruel punishments. I remember vividly as Davis described one of the ways husband’s could punish their wives for not being domestic enough. In that situation, the husband could literally chain his wife to the wall until he saw fit that she had learned her lesson. It was cruel and unusual punishments such as this that Davis wrote about that existed before prisons became institutionalized. Once people decided that cruel punishments were unacceptable, for example, the idea that prisons could exist as a more “humane” replacement became more globally wide spread.

    Before reading this book, I would have never considered the abolition of prisons as a valid idea. However, after reading the book and discussing this topic in class I feel it might actually be a legitimate cause. It may be difficult to convince the majority of the nations and cultures that have allows prisons to become institutionalized for so long; however, slavery was also institutionalized, and was able to be reformed despite the difficulty and amount of time implemented. I feel prisons could be replaced with more care and treatment for the sick people that would have been otherwise put away for life behind bars. The process of changing from a prison money-making society to a prison-less society would be a long road, but I believe it would be possible, if more people realized that prisons did not always exist and that there are many other options to replace the so-called purposes of prisons

You must be logged in to post a comment.