By Jahmekya Birhan
“Justice must be served, place them behind bars” they scream, that is the solution! How will metal bars in large concrete buildings solve our problems, beyond those of the money hungry people, hoping to benefit from the screaming crowds? The prison industrial complex that has found its home in the United States is eating away at the minds of many, as they continue to believe that by placing “criminals” behind bars, the world will become a safe place. Incarceration acts as a means through which we as a society can easily disregard the issues of increasing poverty, a failing educational system, persistent racism, exploitation of the have-nots and the vicious cycle that continues to exist in this country and abroad. Dealing with these issues isn’t easy, and we as a society don’t like to have face the ugly reality that the world isn’t perfect. At her talk last week at Columbia University called “Removing the Bars,” Angela Davis spoke about the Prison Industrial Complex, and how it is modern day slavery, and how it’s existence effects everyone. Instead of seeing incarceration as the solution for all things, Davis urges the masses to begin thinking about alternatives, ultimately getting to the root of the issues that lead people to a life behind bars. A dialogue must be created – rather then being a part of the screaming masses, we should take the time to talk to one another and find alternatives to prisons which serve to benefit a capitalist and classist system. Despite the pain that thinking about these issues may inflict on us, we need to think and teach each other about them, and together work to break down the Prison Industrial Complex. After the jump, watch a speech she gave at UCSC, and a Democracy Now broadcast featuring Angela Davis discussing prisons in the U.S.
The Prison: A Sign of Democracy?
Angela Davis on the Prison Abolishment Movement and Frederick Douglass