Sunday, March 4, 2012

Cell at Ohio State Penitentiary

Drawn by Greg Curry


  1. Looks quite roomy!

  2. Please take a moment to imagine living 23 hours a day in a room the size of your bathroom. Go to your bathroom and lock yourself in for 30 minutes and imagine staying there for the next week. The next year. The next decade. Seriously imagine it. Please.


    Okay, now tell us again that cells at OSP are "roomy" or that there is ever a good reason to do that to someone, to hundreds of people.

  3. Please take the time to imagine you are 4-5 or 8 or 13 and every night this monster comes into your room and hurts you in unimaginable ways. Should this monster get milk and cookies or one of these presidential suites? We have crime and we have punishment. If you can do one you should be able to do the other. I doubt you've ever been a victim of a violent crime. Some feel safer knowing at least one monster isn't out there stalking them. And even then that monster gets to correspond with family, make friends, joke, walk in the sunshine, get fat. What pray tell would be your deterrent to crime?

  4. I understand your concerns about violent crime. I share them. In fact, the prison system's failure to deal with exactly that situation is a large part of why we want to abolish it. You assume we've never been victims of violent crime, but it is our experiences with violence and the inadequacy of the police response that largely motivates us.

    As far as deterrant goes, prison is a pretty poor deterrant, with substantial negative side effects (mass incarceration, churning of people in and out of prison, returning traumatized people to our neighborhoods, racism, class inequality, etc). It sets an incredibly low bar. I beleive we can do better, and that almost any replacement- from transformative justice or restorative justice (google them, please) to even vigilante justice or family feuds. These are obviously imperfect and would not resolve every situation, but would be improvements on this terrible system.

    It might help you understand our position to know that what we're seeking is a radical transformation of society as a whole. We think that the current social order is intolerable and unjustifiable. Modern society involves inequality, surveillance and centralized control that monarchs and ancient tyrants could only dream of. We recognize that police and prisons play a key role in maintaining this system. I don't expect to convince you of this position in this internet thread, just offering it up to help you understand where we're coming from.

    Do you realize how disrespectful it is to use the phrase "presidential suite" to describe torturous conditions of confinement? If you continue to make ignorant assumptions, and disrespectfully dismiss others' experiences, it's going to be hard for me to find continuing this dialog to be worth my trouble.