Are Prisons Obsolete?

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Seven Stories Press, Jan 4, 2011 - Political Science - 128 pages
77 Reviews
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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A great introduction to concept of prison abolition. - Goodreads
Short, easy to read, and brilliant. - Goodreads
It's well-written and researched for being a tiny book. - Goodreads
A short introduction into the antiprison movement. - Goodreads
Intro to Decarceration. - Goodreads

Review: Are Prisons Obsolete?

User Review  - Patrick - Goodreads

Severely lacking in its alternatives section; nonetheless required reading for anyone interested in the prison industrial complex and related systems of oppression. Read full review

Review: Are Prisons Obsolete?

User Review  - Nico Ducharme - Goodreads

sad. Read full review

Selected pages


IntroductionPrison Reform or Prison Abolition?
Slavery Civil Rights and Abolitionist Perspectives Toward Prison
Imprisonment and Reform
How Gender Structures the Prison System
The Prison Industrial Complex
Abolitionist Alternatives
About the Author

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About the author (2011)

ANGELA YVONNE DAVIS is a professor of history of consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Over the last thirty years, she has been active in numerous organizations challenging prison-related repression. Her advocacy on behalf of political prisoners led to three capital charges, sixteen months in jail awaiting trial, and a highly publicized campaign then acquittal in 1972. In 1973, the National Committee to Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners, along with the Attica Brothers, the American Indian Movement and other organizations founded The National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, of which she remained co-chairperson for many years.

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