In the last few years, there has been ever increasing media attention on the subject of incarceration, particularly in how those institutions affect transgender inmates. From CeCe McDonald’s imprisonment for defending herself in an assault, to Laverne Cox’s portrayal as Sophia Burset in Orange Is the New Black, to Jennicet Gutierrez’s White House protest of transgender detainee treatment in ICE custody. Today we have two guests joining us to discuss the current state of the American prison system, the concept of abolition and the reforms necessary to protect transgender and gender non-conforming prisoners.
The United States has 5% of the world's population, but 25% of the world's prisoners. (2014 stat)
In 2010, the U.S. spent $80 billion on incarceration. (2014 stat)
In 2012, one in every 108 adults was in prison or jail and one in 28 American children has a parent behind bars. (2014 stat) (http://mic.com/articles/86519/19-actual-statistics-about-america-s-prison-system)
LGBT youth make up only 6 percent of the general population but represent 15 percent of people currently in juvenile detention. (http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2015/9/18/helping-queer-youth-affected-school-prison-pipeline)
40% of Transgender Prisoners Are Sexually Abused, which is 10 times the rate of prisoners in general. (https://transgenderequality.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/federal-survey-40-of-transgender-prisoners-are-sexually-abused-each-year/)
What does justice/injustice for transgender people in the prison system look like?
Solitary confinement for ‘protection’ vs punishment
Being housed in gender inappropriate prisons
Being denied hormones and other medications
Being denied gender appropriate clothing
The For-Profit Prison Industry; Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) (http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/private-prisons-profit)
What is the PIC and is it larger than just private prisons?
$5 billion industry (mj)
More infractions handed out to prisoners, increased recidivism rates, more costly prisoners (mj)
Lock-up quotas and ‘low-crime taxes’ (http://www.njjn.org/uploads/digital-library/Criminal-Lockup-Quota,-In-the-Public-Interest,-9.13.pdf)
Prison Abolition movement
What is prison abolition and how does it differ from prison reform
Are other countries using these tactics and are they working?
What are the alternatives to prison to reduce crime and protect society?
How much has to change, besides simply removing prisons, for abolition to be effective? Do we have to first undo oppression and inequality, first remove the PIC or must these happen simultaneously?