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126,914. Prisons do not disappear problems, they disappear human beings. And the practice of disappearing vast numbers of people from poor, immigrant and racially marginalized communities has literally become big business. Angela Davis, Masked Racism, 1998
126,921. The political prisoner’s words or deeds have in one form or another embodied political protests against the established order and have consequently brought him into acute conflict with the state. In light of the political content of his act, the ‘crime’ (which may or may not have been committed) assumes a minor importance. In this country, however, where the special category of political prisoners is not officially acknowledged, the political prisoner inevitably stands trial for a specific criminal offense, not for a political act. Angela Davis, If They Come in the Morning, 1971
126,922. Nat Turner and John Brown were political prisoners in their time. The acts for which they were charged and subsequently hanged were the practical extensions of their profound commitment to the abolition of slavery. ibid.
126,926. The eternally repetitive routine, the imposed anonymity and the rigid atomization of numbers and cages are just a few of the dehumanizing, desocializing mechanisms. As for the relationship of prisoners to life outside, it is supposed to be virtually nonexistent. In this respect, the impenetrable concrete, the barbed wire and the armed keepers, ostensibly there to deter escape-bound captives, also suggest something further: prisoners must be guarded from the ingressions of a moving, developing world outside. Disengaged from normal social life, its revelations and influences, they must finally be robbed of their humanity. Yet human beings cannot be willed and molded into nonexistence. In reality the facts of prison life have begun in recent years to bespeak the irrationality of its goals. Even the most drastic repressive measures have not obstructed the progressive ascent of captive men and women to new heights of social consciousness. This has been especially intense among Black and Brown prisoners. ibid.
50,344. [Prison] relieves us of the responsibility of seriously engaging with the problems of our society, especially those produced by racism and, increasingly, global capitalism. Angela Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete?
50,368. Jails and prisons are designed to break human beings, to convert the population into specimens in a zoo – obedient to our keepers, but dangerous to each other. Angela Davis
126,930. There are now thirty-three prisons, thirty-eight camps, sixteen community correctional facilities, and five tiny prisoner mother facilities in California. In 2002, there were 157,979 people incarcerated in these institutions, including approximately twenty thousand people whom the state holds for immigration violations. Angela Davis, Are Prison Obsolete? 2003
126,931. On the whole, people tend to take prisons for granted. It is difficult to imagine life without them. At the same time, there is reluctance to face the realities hidden within them, a fear of thinking about what happens inside them. Thus, the prison is present in our lives and, at the same time, it is absent from our lives. To think about this simultaneous presence and absence is to begin to acknowledge the part played by ideology in shaping the way we interact with our social surroundings. We take prisons for granted but are often afraid to face the realities they produce. ibid.
126,932. 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. There are thus real and often quite complicated connections between the deindustrialization of the economy — a process that reached its peak during the 1980s — and the rise of mass imprisonment, which also began to spiral during the Reagan-Bush era. However, the demand for more prisons was represented to the public in simplistic terms. More prisons were needed because there was more crime. Yet many scholars have demonstrated that by the time the prison construction boom began, official crime statistics were already falling. ibid.
126,933. The prison therefore functions ideologically as an abstract site into which undesirables are deposited, relieving us of the responsibility of thinking about the real issues afflicting those communities from which prisoners are drawn in such disproportionate numbers. This is the ideological work that the prison performs — it relieves us of the responsibility of seriously engaging with the problems of our society, especially those produced by racism and, increasingly, global capitalism. ibid.
126,934. The massive prison-building project that began in the 1980s created the means of concentrating and managing what the capitalist system had implicitly declared to be a human surplus. In the meantime, elected officials and the dominant media justified the new draconian sentencing practices, sending more and more people to prison in the frenzied drive to build more and more prisons by arguing that this was the only way to make our communities safe from murderers, rapists, and robbers. ibid.
120,741. Society goes on perpetuating this poisonous air not realising that out of it can come not but the most poisonous results. Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays ***** audiobook 6.57.08, part IV re prison
120,746. Year after year the gates of prison hells return to the world an emaciated, deformed, will-less, shipwrecked crew of humanity, with the Cain mark on their foreheads, their hopes crushed, all their natural inclinations thwarted. With nothing but hunger and inhumanity to greet them, these victims soon sink back into crime as the only possibility of existence. ibid.
50,346. Down on the Ones, esias ryder, 1981
Here lies the dust of time spent cast
In forms of regulated lives,
Moulded by the mass have past
The ones the mass could not drive,
Rich law courts play – the poor are tried –
If wrong hands hold the gambling dice
Then history will ever lie,
Shields and spears can’st ne’re entice
The free to end their search in vain,
Reward the patient ones with gold.
When dying echoes Life’s refrain
We may one day know or be told.
Here lies the dust of some waif’s dream
They turn their own to mix with strife,
Plagued with sorrow will ever seem
They cannot win the game of Life.
20,617. Minister: How many to a cell?
Prison Governor: Four just about, sir. (GBH Films & Prison) A Clockwork Orange 1971 starring Malcolm McDowell & Patrick Magee & Michael Bates & Warren Clarke & John Clive & Adrienne Corri & Carl Duering & Paul Farrell & Clive Francis & Michael Gover et al, director Stanley Kubrick
20,618. Soon we may be needing all our prison space for political offenders. (GBH Films & Prison) ibid. minister
20,619. They enjoy their so-called punishment. (GBH Films & Prison) ibid. minister
20,620. Excellent. He’s enterprising, aggressive, out-going, young, bold, vicious. He’ll do ... This vicious young hoodlum will be transformed out of all recognition. (GBH Films & Violence & Prison) ibid.
115,623. One of the government’s biggest problems was dealing with the militants once they were imprisoned. In the lead up to the First World War the government imprisoned more than 1,000 militant Suffragettes … The government’s response was brutal – force-feeding. (Suffragette & Protest & Prison) Clare Balding’s Secrets of a Suffragette, Channel 4 2018
107,093. Only one service has to be maintained for the poor – prisons. Noam Chomsky, lecture Deterring Democracy, Youtube 2.09.17 1992
107,727. The US prison population is the highest in the world … Over half of those in federal prisons are there for drug-related crimes. (Failure & State & Prison) Noam Chomsky, Failed States audio
108,167. In the world solitary confinement is considered torture … You go to the maximum security prisons – they are torture chambers. People are confined 23 hours a day in a small room. It drives you insane. Noam Chomsky, Talks at Google 4th April 2014, Youtube 1.02.41
108,168. The concept is – it [Obama’s laws] permits indefinite detention of people charged with providing support for enemies of the United States – what’s support? … It’s not a joke incidentally. ibid.
108,302. One of the major scandals since Reagan is the huge incarceration programme which is a huge weapon against – it’s a race war but it’s based on drugs. Noam Chomsky, interview Chris Hedges June 2014, Youtube 55.08
110,018. A source of cheap labour – so prison labour is going way up … In fact the scale of prison construction, which is a kind of Keynsian stimulus to the economy, but its scale has become so enormous that even high-tech industry – you know the guys are usually just ripping off the Pentagon system – theyre beginning to look at it. (Market & Prison) Noam Chomsky, lecture Harvard University 13th April 1996, ‘Free Market Fantasies: Capitalism in the Real World’
746. A close-mindedness that amounts to an imprisonment so total that the prisoner doesn’t even know he’s locked up. (Belief & Prison & Mind) David Foster Wallace
1,063. Which of us has not remained forever prison-pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone? (Life’s Like That & Prison & Alone) Thomas Wolfe, foreword to ‘Look Homeward, Angel’ 1929