Are Prisons Obsolete Angela Davis Summary

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The prison industrial complex concept is used to link the rapid US inmate population expansion to the political impact of privately owned prisons. This concept supports the power of the people who get their power from racial and economic advantages. One of the many ways this power is maintained is through the creation of media images that kept the stereotypes of people of color, poor people, immigrants, LGBTQ people, and other oppressed communities as criminal or sexual deviants alive in today’s society. This power is also maintained by earning political gains for the “tough on crime” politicians. In a country with a population being 13% African American, an increasing rate of prisoners are African American women, which makes one half of the population in prison African American. Angela Davis argues in the book Are Prisons Obsolete? that African American incarceration rates can be linked to the “historical efforts to create a profitable punishment industry based on the new supply of ‘free’ black male laborers in the aftermath of the Civil War.” (93-4) Where the Black Codes were created as a list of punishable crimes committed only by African Americans. This created a disproportionately black penal population in the South during that time leaving the “easy acceptance of disproportionately black …show more content…
African American, Latino, Native American, and Asian youth have been portrayed as “criminals and evildoers,” while young African American and Latina women are portrayed as sexually immoral, confirming the idea that criminality and deviance are racialized. Movements lead mostly by women of color are challenging the prison industrial complex concept, looking for the elimination of imprisonment and policing; creating substitutes to punishment and

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