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The Rise of Long-Term Sentences and Teaching Inside as Feminist, Abolitionist Labor

By Alice Kim, Erica Meiners, Audrey Petty, Jill Petty, Beth Richie, and Sarah Ross This is an excerpt from The Long Term: Resisting Life Sentences, Working Toward Freedom, Haymarket Books, 2018. Reprinted with permission. In 2011, when the Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project (P+NAP)—a group of artists, scholars, organizers, and writers—started teaching arts and humanities classes at Stateville prison in Illinois, our work was organized by the prison administration under a program called “Long-Term Offenders.” The abbreviation LTO, casually written on institutional paperwork and used by prison guards, is the prison administration’s shorthand for people who are serving long-term sentences, meaning life without parole or virtual life sentences of fifty years or more. For the people we met in our classes at Stateville prison, the term “LTO” signals something profound: it represents the nation’s ideological and political commitments to the long-term removal of people from their communities into prisons, a…

The Enduring Myth of Black Criminality

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQo-yYhExw0 In his October cover story, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores how mass incarceration has affected African American families. “There’s a long history in this country of dealing with problems in the African American community through the criminal justice system,” he says in this animated interview. “The enduring view of African Americans in this country is as a race of people who are prone to criminality.”

Freedom Dreams Syllabus

By Alice Kim Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project, Stateville Prison This course explores the freedom dreams of political thinkers, artists, writers, activists and ordinary people in the US and beyond. We will engage with multiple genres (personal narrative, graphic memoir, poetry, speeches) to explore the meaning of freedom. Using an intersectional lens, we will consider the ways in which race, class, gender, and historical/social/cultural context impact our understanding and dreams of freedom. We will also explore the power of imagination to transform individuals, communities, and society.

After Seven Long Years, Freedom: An Interview With Marissa Alexander

By Victoria Law | Truthout

As the clock struck midnight on January 26, Marissa Alexander was finally able to pull off her ankle monitor. The Florida mother of three was officially done with her two-year sentence of home confinement and electronic monitoring.

Despite the late hour, she drove to her sister’s house where she, her mother and her sister had a toast to her freedom. The next morning, she took her youngest daughter to breakfast before dropping her off at school; something that she’d never before been able to do with her six-year-old. That night, she took her 16-year-old twins to dinner. That weekend, family and friends threw a party in her honor. And finally, on Sunday, Alexander put a baseball cap on and headed to a local bar to watch the football game in anonymity. It was the first time the Jacksonville mother had been able to do so since her legal ordeal began in 2010.

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