Tag Archive: prison industrial complex

Against Carceral Feminism

“Prison Blueprints.” Remeike Forbes / Jacobin

From Jacobin / By Victoria Law

Relying on state violence to curb domestic violence only ends up harming the most marginalized women.

Cherie Williams, a thirty-five-year-old African-American woman in the Bronx, just wanted to protect herself from her abusive boyfriend. So she called the cops. But although New York requires police to make an arrest when responding to domestic violence calls, the officers did not leave their car. When Williams demanded their badge numbers, the police handcuffed her, drove her to a deserted parking lot, and beat her, breaking her nose, spleen, and jaw. They then left her on the ground.

“They told me if they saw me on the street, that they would kill me,” Williams later testified.

The year was 1999. It was a half-decade after the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which deployed more police and introduced more punitive sentencing in an attempt to reduce domestic violence. Many of the feminists who had lobbied for the passage of VAWA remained silent about Williams and countless other women whose 911 calls resulted in more violence. Often white, well-heeled feminists, their legislative accomplishment did little to stem violence against less affluent, more marginalized women like Williams.

This carceral variant of feminism continues to be the predominant form. While its adherents would likely reject the descriptor, carceral feminism describes an approach that sees increased policing, prosecution, and imprisonment as the primary solution to violence against women.

This stance does not acknowledge that police are often purveyors of violence and that prisons are always sites of violence. Carceral feminism ignores the ways in which race, class, gender identity, and immigration status leave certain women more vulnerable to violence and that greater criminalization often places these same women at risk of state violence. (more…)

RRFM Participants Accuse Police Chief Blue of Cowardice

From Really Free Carrboro

raid

This Saturday, at 2 pm, hundreds of people will converge at Carrboro’s Town Commons to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the Carrboro Really Really Free Market. This event has been promoted for months and will surely draw some of Orange County’s most progressive and community-minded residents.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue has chosen this Saturday, at 2 pm, to hold a “Question and Answer Session” on the other side of town about why he believes it is necessary for the Chapel Hill Police Department to own and utilize military-style heavy weaponry.

This is no abstract question for Chief Blue. In November 2011, he ordered a military-style raid in the middle of downtown Franklin Street, sending men with loaded assault rifles to threaten and arrest peaceful demonstrators and passersby in response to the occupation of the long-disused Yates Building. This police raid generated tremendous controversy, provoking widespread outcry and several protest marches: for once, the systemic violence of the police, which is usually only obvious to the disenfranchised, was front and center in public discourse.

Even in this situation, Chief Blue never acknowledged any error. We can only conclude that military-style raids in which armored officers point assault rifles at passersby are part of his vision of appropriate policing in Chapel Hill. Ferguson is not so far away after all: if this is how he responds to protests on Franklin Street, how much more brutally will these weapons be used against poor people and people of color, those on the receiving end of most of the violence of the police?
(more…)

Accused of Stealing a Backpack, High School Student Jailed for Nearly Three Years Without Trial

KaliefbrowderFrom The New Yorker

In the early hours of Saturday, May 15, 2010, ten days before his seventeenth birthday, Kalief Browder and a friend were returning home from a party in the Belmont section of the Bronx. They walked along Arthur Avenue, the main street of Little Italy, past bakeries and cafés with their metal shutters pulled down for the night. As they passed East 186th Street, Browder saw a police car driving toward them. More squad cars arrived, and soon Browder and his friend found themselves squinting in the glare of a police spotlight. An officer said that a man had just reported that they had robbed him. “I didn’t rob anybody,” Browder replied. “You can check my pockets.”

The officers searched him and his friend but found nothing. As Browder recalls, one of the officers walked back to his car, where the alleged victim was, and returned with a new story: the man said that they had robbed him not that night but two weeks earlier. The police handcuffed the teens and pressed them into the back of a squad car. “What am I being charged for?” Browder asked. “I didn’t do anything!” He remembers an officer telling them, “We’re just going to take you to the precinct. Most likely you can go home.” Browder whispered to his friend, “Are you sure you didn’t do anything?” His friend insisted that he hadn’t.

At the Forty-eighth Precinct, the pair were fingerprinted and locked in a holding cell. A few hours later, when an officer opened the door, Browder jumped up: “I can leave now?” Instead, the teens were taken to Central Booking at the Bronx County Criminal Court. (more…)

Third escape at Woodland Hills, despite security upgrades

escape!From Corporate Media

Another break out at Woodland Hills Youth Development Center Friday left officials scrambling to improve security there for the third time this month.

Around 11 p.m. Friday, 13 teenagers broke out of the juvenile lockup after two of them attacked a guard and stole his keys and radio.

Metro police working alongside the Tennessee Highway Patrol had taken 12 of the teens back into custody within hours. Sixteen-year-old Timothy B. Willis from Lawrence County, whose record includes theft, assault and runaway charges, was brought into custody early Sunday morning..

After overpowering the guard, the teens used his keys to get out of their dorm and into an outdoor courtyard on the complex, according to a DCS statement. One of them wriggled through a small gap between the perimeter fence and a rolling gate.

He threw a rock through the guard house window on the other side and opened the gate, freeing the others. (more…)