Angela Davis Are Prisons Obsolete Analysis

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Angela Davis in her book, Are Prisons Obsolete?, argues for the overall abolishment of prisons. Amongst the significant claims that support Davis’ argument for abolition, the inadequacy of prison reforms stands out as the most compelling. Reform movements truthfully only seek to slightly improve prison conditions, however, reform protocols are eventually placed unevenly between women and men. Additionally, while some feminist women considered the crusade to implement separate prisons for women and men as progressive, this reform movement proved faulty as female convicts increasingly became sexually assaulted. Following the theme of ineffectiveness, the reform movement that advocated for a female approach to punishment only succeeded in strengthening…show more content…
Angela Davis demonstrates the ongoing violent abuse as she quotes a report on sexual maltreatment in women’s prisons, “We found that male correctional employees have vaginally, anally, and orally raped female prisoners and sexually assaulted and abused them” (Davis 78). However disturbing this blunt sexual contact that male officers take with the vulnerable prisoners may be, the officers adopt even more severe tactics to harass and abuse the women as they often utilize “mandatory pat-frisks or room searches to grope women 's breasts, buttocks, and vaginal areas...” (Davis 79). To add insult to injury, women are virtually incapable of escaping from their abuser(s). Prison employees upkeep their inappropriate behavior as it is believed they will “rarely be held accountable, administratively or criminally” (Davis 78). Davis specifies that the lack of accountability for inappropriate behavior is caused by faulty administrative action as she explains, “Grievance or investigatory procedures, where they exist, are often ineffectual...” (78). Since women’s prisons were established, sexual abuse has been used as a form of punishment, although this is not formally acknowledged by prison officials, it is undeniable that women’s prison staff more than oftentimes engage in sexual…show more content…
This preconceived notion could not be farther from the truth. In reality, these reform movements are idiotically placing a bandaid over the tremendous issue that the prison system is. An imbalance of reforms between women and men, unrestrained sexual abuse in women’s prisons, and tyrannical gender roles are just three of countless examples of how prison reform movements only create more misfortune and fail to provide any real solution to worsening prison conditions. Perhaps instead of conjuring up additional ideas on how to reform prisons, America’s so-called democratic society should agree upon abolishing prisons as a whole. This being said, it is crucial to identify ongoing issues in today’s society, understand how they contribute to unlawful behavior, and seek a solution. For instance, tackling issues such as health care and education, which provide severe inequality and adversity, would create an equal and safer society that would thus reject any need for criminal behavior, Davis herself suggests, “Rather, positing decarceration as our overarching strategy, we would try to envision a continuum of alternatives to imprisonment-demilitarization of schools, revitalization of education at all levels, a health system that provides free physical and mental care to all…” (Davis 107). It is clear that prisons and

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