Final Study Guide

Final Study Guide - Soc. 1: Final Study Guide Angela Davis,...

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Soc. 1: Final Study Guide Angela Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete? 1. Why does Angela Y. Davis want us to think about the obsolescence of the prison? Prisons are obsolete because they do not serve as rehabilitation centers. They simply are a consequence but don't prevent the actions. People continue to go because there is nothing that stops them. Poor efficiency of prison recovery can be seen because of mass incarceration and the increase of crime. Davis wants us to think about the obsolescence of the prison because currently more than two million American people inhabit prisons. She questions whether we are willing to relegate larger numbers of people from racially oppressed communities to an isolated existence. There are twice as many people suffering from a mental disease in prisons than psychiatric hospitals. The Prison industrial complex refers to a condition in which prisons are not at the fringes of economic development and social reproduction but are major forces in it. Like the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex is a set of bureaucratic, political, and economic interests that encourage increased spending on imprisonment, regardless of the actual need. The prison industrial complex is not a conspiracy, guiding the nation's criminal justice policy behind closed doors. It is a confluence of special interests that has given imprisonment in the United States a seemingly unstoppable momentum. “in a way that recalled the emergence of the military industrial complex, we began to refer to a prison industrial complex” “we thus think of imprisonment as a fate reserved for others, for the evildoers, the collective imagination as people of color” “connections between the deindustrialization of the economy and the rise of mass imprisonment” Jeffrey Reiman, The Rich Get Richer and the Poor get Prison 2. What is “a crime by any other name”? Why does Reiman ask, “What’s in a name?” Crime, criminal acts, and criminals are socially created. Crimes by any other name are those acts which do social harm and are comparable to criminal acts in the amount of suffering and harm they cause, but which are typically not thought of as criminal. The acts of a crime is created; it is an image shaped by decisions as to what will be called crime and who will be treated as a criminal. The decisions that lead up to a crime are created by broader social systems influencing an individual to enact upon such a crime. (example: a worker dying in the work force) 3. What does Reiman mean by likening the criminal justice system to a “mirror”? What kind of mirror does he think it is? (Please understand the two deceptions on page 66-67).
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Crime is not a simple objective threat: “it is a reality that takes shape as is it filtered through a series of human decisions running the full gamut of the criminal justice system” and beyond. The criminal justice system is a mirror that shows a very specific, and according to Jeffrey Reiman, “distorted” image of the dangers that threaten us. The criminal system is like a mirror in which society can see the face of the evil in its
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Final Study Guide - Soc. 1: Final Study Guide Angela Davis,...

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