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Are Prisons Obsolete By Angela Davis Summary

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Eduardo Mendieta constructs an adequate response to Angela Davis’ Are Prisons Obsolete? in his article, The Prison Contract and Surplus Punishment: On Angela Y. Davis’ Abolitionism. While Mendieta discusses the pioneering abolitionist efforts of Angela Davis, the author begins to analyze Davis’ anti-prison narrative, ultimately agreeing with Davis’ polarizing stance. Due to the fact Mendieta is so quick to begin analyzing Davis’ work, the article’s author inadvertently makes several assumptions about readers of his piece. For instance, Mendieta assumes that readers will automatically be familiar with Angela Davis. After arguing the failure of prisons, Mendieta establishes his agreement with Davis’ anti-prison rhetoric without introducing the author, her book, or other various abolitionist efforts, “I will also argue that Davis’s work is perhaps one of the best philosophical as well as political responses to the expansion of the prison system...” (Mendieta 293). The article’s author also assumes that readers are familiar with specific torture tactics used on prisoners,“...the United States is facing one of its most devastating moral and political debacles in its history with the disclosures of torture at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and other such prisons…” (293). Mendieta’s act of assuming that readers will already be familiar with Angela Davis and her work, as well as the specific methods of torture used by certain prisons, may cause readers to feel lost while reading the
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