About

This site serves as a platform for a class called Prison Politics for Anti-Capitalists  organized at The Public School (Bay Area) in 2013. In this course, we educate ourselves with the specific intent to build a community in solidarity with the renewed Pelican Bay Hunger Strike that might begin July 8th.

In six class sessions, we examine key elements of the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) as manifested in California State Prisons and with special emphasis on the punitive use of solitary confinement throughout the penal system.

The criminalization of individuals and communities by race is the thread woven throughout our discourse and participants should expect a fierce look into how the prison system institutionalizes white supremacy in modern America.

Each course features a facilitator, a presenter to discuss the class topic and a formerly-incarcerated person to share their personal experience.

For more information about the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike, please visit Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity.

Session Overview:

  1. What is the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC)? An overview of the California political economy, prison construction as a “development” strategy, prison labor and unions. The War on Drugs.
  2. The Cultural Impacts of Mass Incarceration. Social and economic effects of the PIC on targeted communities and families. Emotional and psychological costs of mass incarceration.
  3. Immigrant Detention and the War Machine. Examining the explosive rate of immigrant detention (429,000 annually in 2011, according to the ACLU) alongside a brief discussion of Guatanamo Bay and extraordinary rendition.
  4. Solitary Confinement, Life Sentences and Death Row. Race discrimination in sentencing trends. Does solitary confinement make either society or prison populations safer?
  5. How Gender Structures the Prison System. Bringing feminist and queer theory to bear on the sex-segregated prison system. The construction of “prison masculinities.”
  6. Educate to Incarcerate. The intersection of school discipline and juvenile detention. The school-to-prison pipeline and profiling youth culture. Growing up with parents in prison.

Questions or Comments? Please use the form below.

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