All posts in tag: prisons

Jonathan Simon Carceral geographies: Mapping the escape routes from mass incarceration

Today and tomorrow (Sept. 18-19, 2014) at UC Berkeley we will be launching a new undergraduate course thread titled “Carceral Geographies.” Our launch will begin with a keynote address by the great Ruth “Ruthie” Wilson Gimore, scholar/activist extraordinaire who has given us the definitive study of California’s descent into mass incarceration, … More >

Jonathan Simon Abandoning a failed penal experiment: New York’s historic advantage

The State of New York has made it share of bad penal policy choices. Remember the “Rockefeller Drug Laws” — mandatory life sentences for persons arrested with large quantities of dangerous drugs, which helped set the nation on the path toward indiscriminate use of incarceration?

But the Empire State has also … More >

Jonathan Simon From humanity to health: Why can’t California get prison healthcare right?

To considerable embarrassment, no doubt, in the Brown-Beard administration, admissions to California’s newest prison near Stockton California were halted Feb. 5 by the court-appointed healthcare receiver, law professor Clark Kelso.

The prison, the first new facility in a decade, is the lynch-pin of the administration’s frequent claim to have gotten on … More >

Jonathan Simon From the War on Crime to ‘World War Z': What the zombie apocalypse can tell us about the current state of our culture of fear

Zombies are everywhere.  Ok not (yet) on the streets (so far as I know); but in our cultural imaginary they are everywhere.  You can find them (in small groups and hordes) in high budget nail biting thriller movies like Brad Pitt’s World War Z (2013), on television, and all over print and … More >

Jonathan Simon To the Fruitvale Station

Thanks to the persistence of my wife who has insisted for some time that as residents of the East Bay we must see it in the theater along with fellow East Bayers, our whole family saw this remarkable film a couple of weeks ago. The film moved me to tears … 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 Prison time: How long is long enough?

It is hard to say whether they are the worst crimes. They are the crimes that horrify the most. A baby-sitter, for no apparent reason, strangles the 15 month old child she has been hired to protect.  A professional thief shoots a young police officer in his face, while the … More >

Jonathan Simon Occupy’s prison protest: It’s not yesterday any more

Getting people around my age, late boomers who grew up in the “fear years” of the 1970s, to rethink their assumptions about prisons, crime and criminal justice is hard; and it keeps us locked into mass incarceration. Consider SF Chron Columnist Chip Johnson’s broadside at the Occupy Movement in the … 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 >

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