Inform Them, Reform Them, Transform Them

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Did they want more police officers in their communities?

The right to education and education for human rights

The answer was no. The measure failed.


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We beat them back. The organization Justice Now circulated a petition that 3, incarcerated people signed, to protest the new facilities intended to house them. A list of the incarcerated signatories — a foot scroll — was presented at the State Capitol, to audible gasps from the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Prisons.

Then she encountered the work of the influential Marxist geographer Neil Smith and quickly decided to mail her application to the geography department instead. Geography, she discovered, allowed her to examine urban-rural connections and to think broadly about how life is organized into competing and cooperating systems.

Gilmore received her Ph. She replied that her course was not about race and crime. The department head has a different recollection. She got her way and has been developing the concept of carceral geography ever since, a category of scholarship she more or less single-handedly invented, which examines the complex interrelationships among landscape, natural resources, political economy, infrastructure and the policing, jailing, caging and controlling of populations. In the years since, Gilmore has shaped the thinking of many geographers, as well as generations of graduate students and activists.

The event, organized by Critical Resistance, was crowded with South Side organizers, the youngest of whom were invited onstage to offer tributes to Davis, the most famous person in the room. It was all feel-good vibes, and then Davis turned to Gilmore and brought up the topic of private prisons. The tone in the room grew tense.

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But anyone seriously engaged with the subject knows that this is not the case. Even a cursory glance at numbers proves it: Ninety-two percent of people locked inside American prisons are held in publicly run, publicly funded facilities, and 99 percent of those in jail are in public jails. Every private prison could close tomorrow, and not a single person would go home. But the ideas that private prisons are the culprit, and that profit is the motive behind all prisons, have a firm grip on the popular imagination.

But, she said to Gilmore, she saw the popular emphasis on privatization as useful in demonstrating the ways in which prisons are part of the global capitalist system. Gilmore replied to her longtime comrade that private prisons are not driving mass incarceration. They are parasites. In her fluency on these subjects, a certain gulf opened between the two women. State agencies must compete for this revenue, Gilmore explained. Under austerity, the social-welfare function shrinks; the agencies that receive the money are the police, firefighters and corrections. So other agencies start to copy what the police do: The education department, for instance, learns that it can receive money for metal detectors much more easily than it can for other kinds of facility upgrades.

The most powerful lobby group in California are the guards. They can elect everyone from D. They gave Gray Davis a couple million dollars, and he gave them a prison. The explicit function of prison is to separate people from society, and this costs money.

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Fifteen and a half billion dollars of the proposed budget for the coming year will go to corrections, and 40 percent of that goes to staff salaries alone, not including benefits and generous pensions. This is state-subsidized employment, not a profit venture. If prison scholars tend to focus on one angle or another of incarceration trends, Gilmore provides the most structurally comprehensive explanations, using California as a case study. Her fundamental point is that prison was not inevitable — not for individuals and not for California.

But the more prisons the state built, the better the state became at filling them, even despite falling crime rates. She has a warm and effusive demeanor and is quick to laugh with people and bond with them. She speaks plainly and yet refuses to oversimplify. Gilmore was born in and grew up in New Haven, Conn. Du Bois. As a child, Gilmore secretly wanted to be a preacher. The only time in her childhood that white people came to the house was for labor meetings.

She would sit on the stairs and listen to the men, who smoked and argued late into the night. As they left, she would peek through a window to watch them leave. It left when the others left. She was miserable, but she learned a lot. In , she enrolled at Swarthmore College, where she got involved in campus politics. It was the year of occupations. She had the Alabama style, talked slowly and deliberately, wore a miniskirt. Make a demand. In January, Gilmore, Fania and a handful of other black students took over the admissions office.

Gilmore invited her parents to come down from New Haven and offer political guidance. Gilmore was outraged, but her father was casual. Eight days into the occupation, Smith had a heart attack at 52 and died at his desk. At the time, Swarthmore, just like Yale, had a large number of black employees who performed the necessary if less visible jobs around campus, and these people, it turned out, had been observing events from a distance.

We left with them. It all seemed magical to me. It was ontology put into action, that made it possible for folks to pull up in these cars and silently wait to rescue us, and we knew to be rescued. The men drove them to a house where they bedded down for the night. He had served in Vietnam and been radicalized upon his return, becoming a founding member of the Southern California chapter of the Black Panthers. Now he and another Panther, Bunchy Carter, had been murdered on the U. Gilmore left Swarthmore and moved home.

Introduction: Reforming Education for Transformation: Opportunities and challenges

Later that year, she enrolled at Yale and got deeply involved with her studies. One of them was George Steiner. Another was the film and drama critic Stanley Kauffmann. Gilmore graduated with a degree in drama before vagabonding across the country. Gilmore has come to understand that there are certain narratives people cling to that are not only false but that allow for policy positions aimed at minor or misdirected — rather than fundamental and meaningful — reforms.

Gilmore takes apart these narratives: that a significant number of people are in prison for nonviolent drug convictions; that prison is a modified continuation of slavery, and, by extension, that most everyone in prison is black; and, as she explained in Chicago, that corporate profit motive is the primary engine of incarceration. For Gilmore, and for a growing number of scholars and activists, the idea that prisons are filled with nonviolent offenders is particularly problematic.


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But a majority of people in state and federal prisons have been convicted of what are defined as violent offenses, which can include everything from possession of a gun to murder. Those of us who are committed to ending the system of mass criminalization have to begin talking more about violence. Not only the harm it causes, but the fact that building more cages will never solve it. 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. Another widely held misconception Gilmore points to is that prison is majority black. In terms of racial demographics, black people are the population most affected by mass incarceration — roughly 33 percent of those in prison are black, while only 12 percent of the United States population is — but Latinos still make up 23 percent of the prison population and white people 30 percent, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Gilmore has heard people argue that drug laws will change because the opioid epidemic hurts rural whites, a myth that drives her crazy. Prisons are not isolated from the society and prison health is public health. The vast majority of people committed to prison eventually return to the wider society.

Thus, it is not in vain that prisons have been referred to as reservoirs of disease in various contexts. Imprisonment disrupts relationships and weakens social cohesion, since the maintenance of such cohesion is based on long-term relationships. When a member of a family is imprisoned, the disruption of the family structure affects relationships between spouses, as well as between parents and children, reshaping the family and community across generations.

Mass imprisonment produces a deep social transformation in families and communities.

baldpewbirdtam.tk Taking into account the above considerations, it is essential to note that, when considering the cost of imprisonment, account needs to be taken not only of the actual funds spent on the upkeep of each prisoner, which is usually significantly higher than what is spent on a person sentenced to non-custodial sanctions, but also of the indirect costs, such as the social, economic and healthcare related costs, which are difficult to measure, but which are immense and long-term.

The benchmarks for action in prison reform: the United Nations Standards and Norms. As the guardian of international standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice, UNODC is mandated to support Member States in putting into practice these standards and norms by assisting States in building fair and effective criminal justice systems.

Over the years a considerable body of United Nations standards and norms related to crime prevention and criminal justice has emerged. For further info: see "Compendium of United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice". UNODC's integrated and multi-disciplinary approach to prison reform strategy. It is of utmost importance that prison reform is not regarded in isolation from broader criminal justice reform.

UNODC believes that effective prison reform is dependent on the improvement and rationalisation of criminal justice policies, including crime prevention and sentencing policies, and on the care and treatment made available to vulnerable groups in the community. Reform of the prison system should therefore always take into account the needs relating to the reform of the criminal justice system as a whole and employ an integrated, multi-disciplinary strategy to achieve sustainable impact.

Thus, reform initiatives will usually need to also encompass criminal justice institutions other than the prison service, such as the judiciary prosecution and police service, as relevant. An integrated approach also takes account of areas that are typically not regarded as part of the "criminal justice system". These include, for example, the development of substance dependence treatment programmes in the community or psycho-social counselling programmes, to which certain offenders may be diverted, rather than being imprisoned, thus ensuring that services in prison are not overstretched, trying to meet the needs of a growing number of prisoners with special needs.

The integrated strategy to prison reform can benefit immensely from the establishment and development of collaboration and partnerships with other UN agencies and other international and national organisations engaged in complementary programmes. UNODC's technical assistance in the area of prison reform covers the following thematic areas:. Read more There are three main issues that need to be taken into consideration in the context of pre-trial detention: firstly, pre-trial detention is overused in most countries worldwide and in many developing countries the size of the pre-trial prisoner population is larger than that of the convicted prisoner population.

This situation contradicts the provisions in international standards, including ICCPR, that provide for the limited use of pre-trial detention, only when certain conditions are present.