imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

2.000.000 prisoners - the USA is the world´s leading jailer!

by Vanessa Huang, WireTap Tuesday, Aug. 09, 2005 at 5:58 PM

- - - The U.S. is the world's leading jailer, imprisoning around 22 percent of the world's prison population in spite of representing only around 4.6 percent of the world's population - - -

US: On August 13, thousands of people from around the country marche in a "Journey for Justice" to our nation's capitol. Times have certainly changed since the 1963 civil rights march on Washington, but this year's march still has everything to do with what many view as institutionalized racism.

Lois Ahrens, a participant in the 1963 March and a local Journey for Justice organizer, hopes the march will "make the connections between the promise of that march and that movement for civil rights and mass incarceration."

The U.S. is the world's leading jailer, imprisoning around 22 percent of the world's prison population in spite of representing only around 4.6 percent of the world's population. Of black men in their 20s and 30s, one in eight is imprisoned in the U.S., compared to only one in 63 white men. Yet Justice Department statistics show that from 1994 to 2003, violent crime fell by over 33 percent and property crimes by 23 percent.

This year, family, friends and allies of the more than two million people in U.S. jails and prisons will convene to voice their opposition to what is known as the prison industrial complex (PIC) -- the ever-expanding web of relationships among institutions, individuals, and corporations that benefit from continued reliance on mass imprisonment.

Roberta Franklin, director of Family Members and Friends of People Incarcerated in Montgomery, Alabama, and her group are the main organizers of the march and have obtained sponsorship from over 70 other organizations in their fundraising efforts for the event.

These include diverse prison reform groups targeting specific aspects of the criminal justice system, such as capital punishment, drug-related sentencing and juvenile justice.

The march has also secured sponsorship from groups with broader, more radical critiques of the PIC and the oppressive systems that drive it. These include groups with a long-term vision of a world without prisons, where everyone could thrive regardless of race, class, sexuality or gender.

This unprecedented alignment of organizers with politics ranging from liberal and progressive to radical and revolutionary speaks to widespread consensus on the severity of the current crisis of imprisonment.

Despite all this, the U.S. continues to push "tough on crime" rhetoric and invest in punishment and surveillance rather than nurturing local communities that have survived years of systemic oppression on the basis of race, class, sexuality and gender. This means that the mass imprisonment of communities of color and poor communities of all races only exacerbates existing inequities by taking loved ones away from families and communities.

Challenging mass imprisonment can be a tough sell even in leftist and progressive crowds, so opportunities like the "Journey for Justice" are important steps in amplifying these common demands to end imprisonment as the primary response to poverty and a lack of mental health care or effective responses to addiction.

But as with any social movement of activists who share deep concern about an issue, this one also harbors internal contradictions between those who seek "damage control" -- prison reformists -- and those who seek to challenge root causes driving the problem -- prison abolitionists. Enabling reformists and abolitionists to engage with each other allows them to focus on the common goals.

Reform and Abolition

Abolitionism is grounded in a vision of radical social and cultural transformation in building a world beyond the PIC. Prison abolitionists have been critiqued by reformists for prioritizing concerns with systemic harm experienced by groups of people -- for instance, institutionalized or state violence like policing and prisons and economic violence -- over harm experienced by individuals, as in incidences of interpersonal violence. Reformists also criticize abolitionists for prioritizing political theory over the actual conditions faced by people in prison.

Abolitionists, on the other hand, reproach reformists abolitionists for emphasizing conditions of confinement in the here-and-now at the expense of a longer-term vision of what a safer world without cages would actually look like. Abolitionists have thus argued that reformist efforts have historically failed to address the root causes underlying the PIC.

When it comes to day-to-day work, the lines between abolitionist and reformist strategies are certainly not black and white. Anti-prison and prison reform activists often easily agree on the need to offer drug programs, employment opportunities, affordable housing and mental health care, all of which would drastically reduce our nation's prison populations.

But many reformist efforts that at one time seemed necessary or logical have caused anti-prison and prison reform activists to evaluate whether these are causing more harm than good today. Reform efforts, for example, have historically advocated prisons tailored specifically to the daily needs of women. But such efforts have easily fed into arguments for bigger and "better" facilities -- and more of them.

It is true that most people who get locked up are convicted for nonviolent offenses, contrary to what the media and politicians would like us to think. But reformist rhetoric that uncritically accepts this divide between "deserving" nonviolent offenders and "undeserving" violent offenders only perpetuates the fundamental stories we are taught about safety and the need for continued punishment and confinement.

Projects that use such rhetoric stop short of questioning how the state constructs "crime" in response to poverty, institutionalized racism, heterosexism and gender oppression in order to disappear people whose lives are deeply impacted by these social problems.

Strengthening the movement

Anti-prison and prison reform activists and organizers have begun working to challenge mass imprisonment without undermining each other's preferred approach. Sitara Nieves, an organizer with Critical Resistance (CR), says that day-to-day organizing against the PIC at local and national levels provides opportunities to discuss how "fixing things a little bit is often subverted" and ends up strengthening the system. Zein El-Amine, who also organizes with CR, recognizes that engaging in these conversations is difficult. El-Amine says he has learned a lot from years of these often-heated debates. Today, he says that, "the way I personally work is to highlight abolition in the building process."

Palak Shah, editor of Defending Justice -- an activist resource kit published by the Political Research Associates to help "progressive activists understand and resist the Right, the State, and other forces" that contribute to the growing PIC -- agrees. Shah facilitated a series of workshops in conjunction with the recent release of Defending Justice. In each of these conversations, Shah says, it was "interesting to see how people respond to the abolitionist line. ...How you start talking about it is really important."

People in the anti-prison and prison reform movements have also begun carving out spaces specifically to dialogue with each other. For instance, the Progressive Communicators Network (PCN) recently sponsored its first Strategic Prison Reform and Abolition Communications Gathering. According to Alice do Valle, a member of PCN and the campaign coordinator at Justice Now, anti-prison and prison reform activists analyzed the potential harm and effectiveness of messaging currently used by their groups and movements. To do this, they examined whether groups' messages challenge or reinforce mainstream myths about the effectiveness and role of prisons.

This August's Journey for Justice provides yet another opportunity for the anti-prison and prison reform movements to reinforce each other. It also gives anyone concerned about the crisis of mass imprisonment a chance to support ending the suffering of people in prison today and abolishing the system in the long run.

Journey for Justice is scheduled for Saturday, August 13, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., starting at Lafayette Park on the north side of the White House. March participants will have the opportunity to meet each other ahead of time at a welcome reception at City Hall on Friday, August 12 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. (1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW, 1st Floor Foyer in Washington D.C.)

Vanessa Huang is a fellow at Justice Now, a human rights organization that works with women in prison to build a world without prisons.




Harmful, Undeserved Punishment

It perhaps makes sense to deny the vote to prisoners as part of their punishment, but otherwise the laws make no sense. Once the offenders' sentences are completed, once they've paid their debt to society, there's no moral or legal justification for further punishment. What's needed, often badly needed, is rehabilitation. Ideally, ex-cons should re-enter society quickly as actively participating citizens with all the rights of citizenship.



Hobart, Tasmania. 7-11th of February 2006

The agenda and the form of the conference is now open. Papers can be submitted by emailing:

The following are themes to be explored and expanded at the conference:

* The Politics of Imprisonment

Northern Ireland, Palestine and the Middle East, (Post) Colonial Justice Nigeria and West Africa, South Africa: ANC , Brazil, USA, Canada.

* Contemporary Forms of Penal Custom

Human Rights & Imprisonment: a Global Perspective, International trends, Imprisonment of Women, Marionization and Political Dissent in the USA, Refugee and Immigration Prisons, Prisons under Occupation.

* Post Carceral Resettlement

Organising Inside: Prisoners' resistance and the Outside Community, Writing and Art as Resistance, Barriers to Reintegration, Surveillance, Organising in the Community - Exprisoners' Organisations, Convict Criminology.

* Action Now

Proposals for the future.

* Registration and Workshop participation

To register for the conference or express interest in participation, please use the following - email form.

We will be linking with the ANZSOC criminology conference happening from 7-9th of February 2006 in Tasmania. They haven't finalised the program yet, but do plan to have four plenary sessions around the theme of Human Rights:

* Prisoners and Human Rights

* Refugees and Human Rights

* State Crime and Human Rights

* Terrorism, Racism and Human Rights

More info:


Tasmania is an ideal place to discuss punishment. It used to be called Van Dieman's Land, and was the place where most of the original convicts were sent from England from 1788 until the 1850's. It was the ultimate as a penal colony, was almost entirely a prison, and changed its name to avoid the historic shame. It had penal settlements where convicts were tortured - all well documented. And the convict responses are very special learning experiences, still valid today.

The agenda and the form of the conference is now open. Papers can be submitted by emailing: The following are themes to be explored and expanded upon at the conference: The Politics of Imprisonment, Contemporary Forms of Penal Custom, Post Carceral Resettlement and others.


Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM


lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Paraphysique de psychosomatique S22 6:58AM

Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal S22 2:58AM

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Creative Destruction Hack Diamonds Windows/iOS/Android - Creative Destruction Generator S19 12:51AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator S15 3:49AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Propagande de virus, virus de propagande S10 7:34AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates S08 6:17PM

Paraphysique de l'origami S08 7:11AM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Du réussissement putréfié S06 10:55AM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Log S06 4:25AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy