America Is the Prison: Arts and Politics in Prison in the 1970s

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Theory Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish, Angela Y. Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete? Glenn C. Loury et. Paul W. Federal Corrections, Norval Morris and David Rothman, eds. The Early Republic David J.

A 'hellish world': the mental health crisis in America's prisons

Michele Lise Tarter and Richard Bell, eds. David Oshinsky, Worse Than Slavery, Douglas Blackmon, Slavery by Another Name, Kathleen A. Robert Perkinson, Texas Tough, Loic Waquant, Prisons of Poverty, In one corner of the auditorium, away from the other huddles of musicians wearing standard issue maroon jumpsuits, an infectiously cheery man named Bizzy plays tenor sax and flute.

His quieter companion, Mouse , is on keyboard, and the two middle-aged inmates — both longtime musicians — play a few tunes while I ask about why they come. Bizzy looks around, grinning, at the two dozen men in the cacophonous hall representing a range of ages, from the young to the gray-haired, and all stripes except for, of course, the uniforms that serve as an equalizer as they strum guitars and tinker with synthesizers.

The Caging of America

They laugh about one guest performer who visited the workshop, an upright bass player from the Curtis. Bizzy imitates his fidgeting playing style, eyes wild.

The longer a person is locked up, the more the state pays — which is why reducing both sentencing time and the frequency with which inmates cycle in and out has become a bipartisan priority in recent years, following decades of tough-on-crime policies. The Obama administration made waves when it pushed to reintroduce Pell Grants to support college studies , backed by research showing it reduced recidivism. A decade ago in Graterford, there was an inmate-run music workshop , but it was shut down after VH1 shot a documentary about it that sparked an outcry from victim advocates.

Prison programs are generally financed in one of two ways: government or philanthropy. Songs in the Key of Free relies on the latter.

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Report: US prison rates an 'injustice' - BBC News

The cofounders and their handful of other dedicated volunteers want to be able to serve other incarcerated populations in the Philadelphia area, not just Graterford. Over the last decade, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia have witnessed a shift in their approach to criminal justice. The new state attorney general, Josh Shapiro , has said that reducing recidivism is a top priority.

And if so, should a state that believes in the value of such programs have a role in maintaining them?

Art Show In San Quentin Prison (1960)

Experimental inmate programming in Graterford is not a new concept. The Songs in the Key of Free founders started up their work with a twofold mission: uplift the spirits of the participating inmates through songwriting, and share their work with those on the outside. Cody has been writing songs for five or six years, he tells me. He participates in the workshops because of the collaboration it inspires between inmates.

I highly recommend the book. Uncategorized prison culture 28 July If you would like to contact me, e-mail jjinjustice1 gmail. Essential Reading Visualizations Transformative Justice. Jul 28 Prison Culture If you would like to contact me, e-mail jjinjustice1 gmail.


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