All Prison(er)s Are Politcal

Prison has always been the final gate in the repressive apparatus of a state. It serves the purpose of social and political control, although it manifests itself differently in different nation-states and in different political periods. Nevertheless, the prisoner is, with few exceptions, always a scapegoat and considered a deviant. Prison is not only a class weapon; it is also an instrument to control “alien” populations. In the United States, these “alien” populations are formerly colonized peoples — former slaves, Native Americans, Latin Americans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders — and they have all too often been considered the internal enemy. They are the people most needing control and are therefore the majority of those locked down in U.S. prisons.  The United States is the world’s primary example of a country that deals with its social, economic, and cultural problems by incarceration. But this is its history. Prisons are the logical outcome of the country’s foundation on the genocide of Native Americans, the enslavement of Africans, and the “manifest destiny” of imperial settlerism — from sea to shining sea.”  –Marilyn Buck

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