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sprinkle: an undergraduate journal of feminist and queer studies

Abstract

The American criminal justice system is rooted in white supremacist ideology that is predicated on the murder, displacement, exploitation, and marginalization of people of color. Scholars and activists recognize the American prison system as a modern form of slavery. Only three miles away from Cal Poly’s campus, the California Men’s Colony State Prison (CMC) operates as one of thirty-four state prisons in California. Nearly 4,000 men, trans women, and nonbinary people are being held at the CMC. Not only can mass incarceration be identified as one of the most dreadful state projects that violates human freedom, but also non-incarcerated community members have little to no means of assuring the safety and rights of those incarcerated. Through combining the narratives of currently and formerly incarcerated folks at the CMC, facilitating meetings with community members, engaging with contemporary scholarship and literature surrounding the American carceral system, and investigating the conditions and programming of other state prisons, I have formulated a plan for programming to be launched in the CMC through the NAACP. The men I talked to in the CMC, though few, all expressed a tremendous interest in restorative justice, social problems, outlets for self-expression, and desire to engage with the outside world. Therefore, my project includes an in-depth analysis and report on prisons, using the CMC as a site of reference and investigation, as well as a tangible plan of action to support and enrich people's lives by developing a program that prioritizes the folks at the CMC’s longings for community, opportunities, and knowledge.

Publication Date

5-31-2019

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