Cover image for States of confinement : policing, detention, and prisons
States of confinement : policing, detention, and prisons
James, Joy, 1958-
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xvi, 352 pages ; 22 cm
Added Author:
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HV9950 .S74 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The United States has the highest incarceration and execution rate in the industrialized world. Due to bias in policing and sentencing, seventy percent of the nearly two million people incarcerated in U.S. prisons and immigration detention centers are people of color. Statistics like these, and the often unsafe conditions under which people are imprisoned, make an analysis of incarceration urgent and timely. Using a broad multicultural approach, States of Confinement uncovers the political, social, and economic biases in our policing and punishment systems. The distinguished authors of this collection - such as Angela Y. Davis, Manning Marable, Gary Marx, Robert Meeropol (the son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg), Julie Su (an attorney for immigrants' rights), and Judi Bari (a founder of Earthfirst!) - use their diverse experiences and expertise to discuss troubling abuses of police powers in our society. The issues they expose include racial profiling and sentencing disparities that target African Americans and Latinos, the sexual exploitation of women in prison and police custody, racist and homophobic violence, the policing of Asian Americans and Arabs, the adverse conditions of HIV-positive prisoners, and the use of the Grand Jury and police to undermine political activity. These twenty-seven cogent and accessible essays will appeal to students and educators, as well as anyone concerned about the erosion of democracy and equality in this era of increasing incarceration and police powers.

Author Notes

Joy James is Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

James, a University of Colorado at Boulder ethnic studies professor, gathers 26 critical assessments of the "prison industrial complex" and "the rising abuse of police powers." The essays (many based on papers presented at a 1998 conference, "Unfinished Liberation: Policing, Detention and Prisons") address "Executions" (Robert Meeropol, Steven Hawkins, Daniel R. Williams); "Blacks and Criminal Justice" (Manning Marable, Angela Y. Davis, Mark Mauer, Salim Muwakkil, Adrien Wing); "Gender, Sexuality, and Confinement" (Joanne Belknap, Juanita Diaz-Cotto, Luana Ross, Alexandra Suh, Brenda Rodriguez, Annjanette Rosga); "Policing" (Larvester Gaither, Gabriel Torres, David A. Love, Eric Tang, Julie Su, Gary Marx); and "Political Repression and Resistance" (Margaret Ratner, Michael Ratner, Huessin Ibish, Jose Lopez, Donna Willmott, Judi Bari). Academics and activists share the conviction that "social myths and political demagoguery have joined with dehumanizing and often racist, heterosexist, and classist speech and practices . . . [to] demoniz[e] marginalized social sectors and . . . obscur[e] complex social realities." Some may find the authors' analysis over the top, but this challenge to conventional wisdom about the criminal justice system is needed. --Mary Carroll

Table of Contents

Joy JamesRobert MeeropolLee BernsteinSteven HawkinsDaniel R. WilliamsManning MarableAngela Y. DavisMarc MauerSalim MuwakkilAdrien K. WingJoanne BelknapJuanita Diaz-CottoLuana RossAlexandra SuhJudy Greenspan and Beverly Henry and Theresa Martinez and Judy Ricci and Charisse Shumate and Jess WestAnnjanette RosgaLarvester GaitherDavid Theo GoldbergBrady Thomas Heiner and Ariana MangualEric TangJulie A. SuGary T. MarxMargaret Ratner and Michael RatnerHussein IbishChristian ParentiDonna WillmottJudi BariNkechi Taifa and Kathleen Neal Cleaver and Michael Tarif Warren and Bruce Ellison and Geronimo Ji Jaga and Laura Whitehorn
Acknowledgmentsp. viii
Permissionsp. ix
Introductionp. x
Part I Executions
1. Testimonyp. 3
2. "... Give Me Death": Capital Punishment and the Limits of American Citizenshipp. 10
3. Sentencing Children to Deathp. 22
4. The Ordeal of Mumia Abu-Jamalp. 35
Part II Blacks and Criminal Justice
5. Black Radicalism and an Economy of Incarcerationp. 53
6. From the Convict Lease System to the Super-Max Prisonp. 60
7. Young Black Americans and the Criminal Justice Systemp. 75
8. The New Black Leadership: Gang-Related?p. 85
9. Black Women and Gangsp. 94
Part III Gender, Sexuality, and Confinement
10. Programming and Health Care Accessibility for Incarcerated Womenp. 109
11. Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in Studies of Incarcerationp. 122
12. Imprisoned Native Women and the Importance of Native Traditionsp. 132
13. Military Prostitution in Asia and the United Statesp. 144
14. The State of Prison Healthcare Activism: Fighting the HIV and Hepatitis C Epidemicsp. 159
15. Ritual Killings: Antigay Violence and Reasonable Justicep. 172
Part IV Policing
16. All the Brother Wanted Was a Ride: Lynching and Police Powers in Texasp. 191
17. Surplus Value: The Political Economy of Prisons and Policingp. 205
18. The Repressive Social Function of Schools in Racialized Communitiesp. 222
19. State Violence, Asian Immigrants, and the "Underclass"p. 230
20. The INS and the Criminalization of Immigrant Workersp. 245
21. The New Surveillancep. 258
Part V Political Repression and Resistance
22. The Grand Jury: A Tool to Repress and Jail Activistsp. 277
23. At the Constitution's Edge: Arab Americans and Civil Libertiesp. 287
24. The "New" Criminal Justice System: State Repression from 1968 to 2001p. 303
25. It's Time to Bring Our Political Prisoners Homep. 312
26. Earth First! and the FBIp. 322
27. Human Rights: U.S. Political Prisoners and COINTELPRO Victimsp. 332
Contributorsp. 346
Selected Bibliography of Cited Worksp. 350
Indexp. 359