Chapter

The Long Shadow of Prison: My Messy Journey through Fear, Silence, and Racism toward Abolition

Kay Whitlock

in Interrupted Life

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780520252493
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944565 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520252493.003.0004
The Long Shadow of Prison: My Messy Journey through Fear, Silence, and Racism toward Abolition

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The abolition of the prison system in the United States is not only a political and economic imperative for those concerned about the meaning of justice, it is also a spiritual necessity in a society that has turned the imprisonment of massive numbers of human beings, two-thirds of whom are people of color, into a brutal growth industry. The journey to abolition is intensely human; it is a volatile, complicated journey into the nature of relationships at the intersections of race, gender and gender identity, culture, class, and sexuality. It is a journey not only into the violence individuals do to one another but also into the systemic violence of the state. This chapter recounts a messy journey through fear, silence, and racism toward abolition while incarcerated in the Denver County Jail. The author worked for the reform of dehumanizing conditions and for law enforcement training that would reduce racism and misogyny. She also advocated for sentencing reform and for more educational and rehabilitation programs for women prisoners.

Keywords: United States; abolition; women prisoners; racism; imprisonment; gender identity; sexuality; violence; misogyny; sentencing reform

Chapter.  3234 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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