All posts in tag: mass incarceration

Jonathan Simon Ferguson and human dignity

Michael Brown was buried Monday (August 25, 2014) in St. Louis, near his hometown of Ferguson, Mo. As the world knows by now, two weeks ago the 18-year-old recent high-school graduate was shot six times and killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Michael Brown was unarmed, and the reasons for … More >

Jonathan Simon The real problem with mass incarceration? Inhumanity

We may disagree on who belongs and who does not belong in prison, or on how long prison sentences should be, or what goals those sentences should be meted out to accomplish. But one thing we should not, must not disagree on, is that those prisons should be humane.

What is … More >

Jonathan Simon Mass incarceration, mass deportation: Twin legacies of governing through crime

One afflicts mostly American citizens, disproportionately those of African American and Latino backgrounds from areas of concentrated poverty, but also many white and middle class citizens who fall into the hands of police and prosecutors.  The other afflicts exclusively non-citizens living in the U.S. without federal authorization or in violation … More >

Jonathan Simon Put a fork in it: Paper of record declares mass incarceration dead

So forgive my mixing New York metaphors and class signifiers (I’ve never really lived in Gotham), but as cultural markers go today’s frontpage story in The New York Times, using the phrase “mass incarceration” and declaring  it dead (or at least out of favor among everyone they know and like) … More >

Jonathan Simon Penal trends: Strange weather or climate change?

The most important political storm in recent history (was it the storm or the meme?), “Super-Storm Sandy” helped not only President Obama but to re-raise the question of whether unusual weather is a sign of profound climate change, in this case global average temperature rises caused by human carbon effects.

When … More >

Jonathan Simon Realignment time: The prison crisis comes home

Norimitsu Onishi takes a sobering look at California’s emerging “realigment” policy in this morning’s NYTimes [ed: Aug. 6, 2012] (read it here). The state’s major response to the humanitarian disaster in its state prisons, and the Supreme Court confirmed order to reduce the prison population by approximately 40,000 prisoners, has … More >

Jonathan Simon Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the spirit

If you need a little of both this mid-February, Zoe Williams in the Guardian carries a lengthy interview with the great scholar Stuart Hall at 80 (read it here). Hall attributes the title’s mantra to the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, but as William’s notes, it helps define Hall’s tonic effect … More >

Jonathan Simon The poor storm: Ending mass incarceration in America

“But every society has a poor storm that wretches suffer in, and the attitude is always the same: either that the wretches, already dehumanized by their suffering, deserve no pity or that the oppressed, overwhelmed by injustice, will have to wait for a better world. At every moment, the injustice … More >

Jonathan Simon David Onek for San Francisco D.A.

California’s dramatic pivot toward giving counties primary responsibility for punishment over a wide swath of persons convicted of felonies, a policy known as realignment, is the most important move toward dismantling mass incarceration in this state in forty years.

As I have argued here before, there is both great promise and … More >

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