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Are Prisons Obsolete?

Powerful Essays
Prompt 2 First Draft Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) is a term used to describe the overlapping interests of government and industry that use surveillance, policing, and imprisonment as solutions to social, economic, and political problems. Angela Davis is a journalist and American political activist who believes that the U.S practice of super-incarceration is closer to new age slavery than any system of criminal justice. She defines the PIC as biased for criminalizing communities of color and used to make profit for corporations from the prisoner’s suffering. In her book, Are Prisons Obsolete?, she argues that the prison systems are no longer in use and out of date since prisons just keep increasing as each become more and more populated.…show more content…
On March 3, 1943, Henry, Joey, Smiley, and Tommy got locked up in San Quentin. Henry writes a letter to his family telling them about his experience being locked up in a cell that gave him the feeling of fear and loneliness. “Coming in from the yard in the evening, we are quickly locked up in our cells. Then the clank and locking of the doors leaves one with a rather empty feeling. You are standing up to the iron door, waiting for the guard to come along and take the count, listening as his footsteps fade away in the distance.” (Zoot Suit 1354). When Henry says “locked up”, he refers to him being left alone without any anyone or anything but himself. By saying that he is left with an “empty feeling”, Henry emphasizes how mournful it would have felt as he watches the guard close the doors on him, leaving him in an empty room that causes him to feel empty on the inside. This scene is one of Henry’s lowest point where he feels like no one would be there for him and there’s nothing he could do. Likewise, the story “What You Can Do after Shutdown” by Peter Malae mentions the topic of isolation. The narrator describes how one of activities that a prisoner in jail could do after shutdown is to talk to himself/herself in the restroom. “And if you’re the…show more content…
In Reliable Vet Dad, Reliable Con Son, the narrator talks about his menacing experience in San Quentin. During this time, the narrator has already witnessed many people becoming victims of violence in jail. “There are lifers in the East Block of San Quentin who are, decade by decade, discovering the hell out of themselves, and then, damn, not wanting to jinx myself either, my mission is getting out this mutherfucker with my skin unslashed.” (Reliable Vet Dad, Reliable Con Son 29-30). When the narrator says “my mission”, he refers to his awareness being conscious of his actions due to the fact that any small action could lead him to getting punished and harmed. By the narrator saying that the people in prison are “discovering” the hell out of themselves means that the people in prison are starting to go insane from the lack of freedom and constantly having their actions placed under scrutiny. Hence, this quote reflects back to the thesis because the thesis states how Peter Malae focused on explaining about the lack of freedom and surveillance in prison, the narrator describes his perusal of the people around him getting tortured and having to be conscious about their own actions in order to avoid
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