Are Prisons Obsolete?

Angela Yvonne Davis


IN STOCK$15.95

A great primer for understanding the historical and contemporary prison system. Professor Davis writes about the historical, gendered, commercial, and political side of prisons and offers alternatives that need to be implemented not just in the prisons themselves but in other institutions in society.

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.

ISBN 9781583225813
List price $15.95
Publisher Seven Stories Press
Year of publication 2003

Prisons and policing

with many suggestions taken from the excellent Prison Culture blog

How non-transformative demands for prison reform reinforce the prison system

Liberal complicity with the growth of the mass incarceration runs deep—by refusing to acknowledge the structural transformations and reparative action needed for real political and economic equity, calls for more effective or more fair policing can in reality fuel the growth of a repressive carceral apparatus.

Abolishing prisons and police

Some things that are essential