Unpacking the Crisis: Women of Color, Globalization, and the Prison-Industrial Complex

Julia Sudbury

in Interrupted Life

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780520252493
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944565 | DOI:
Unpacking the Crisis: Women of Color, Globalization, and the Prison-Industrial Complex

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The emergence of a vibrant anti-prison movement has brought attention to the crisis of mass incarceration in the United States. Although men make up over 90 percent of prison populations in the United States and globally, women, particularly women of color, play critical roles in anti-prison movements. These movements focus on a range of intertwined issues, from incarcerated women and LGBT (lesbian-gay-bisexual-transsexual) prisoners to political prisoners, private prisons, prison expansion, prison financing, the death penalty, juvenile justice, human rights violations in prisons, and access to health care. This chapter examines four interlocking factors that underlie the prison crisis: the impacts of globalization and economic restructuring on low-income communities in the United States; the war on drugs; the role of globalization in fueling migration from the global South, the criminalization of migration, and the growth in immigrant incarceration in the United States; and the emergence of the prison-industrial complex. The second part of the chapter discusses the anti-prison movement. It looks at the anti-racist and feminist abolitionist visions developed by anti-prison activists and describes steps toward a world without prisons.

Keywords: United States; anti-prison movement; incarceration; globalization; prison-industrial complex; war on drugs; prisons; women of color; women prisoners; incarcerated women

Chapter.  6868 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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