Academic journal article The Journal of Hip Hop Studies

The End of Prisons: Reflections from the Decarceration Movement

Academic journal article The Journal of Hip Hop Studies

The End of Prisons: Reflections from the Decarceration Movement

Article excerpt

The End of Prisons: Reflections from the Decarceration Movement. Edited by Mechtild E. Nagel, and Anthony J. Nocella. New York, N. Y.: Rodopi, 2013. Pp. xv, 248. paperback $63.86.

This collection of essays distinguishes itself from similar publications in both its focus and scope in two significant ways. First, while its contributors, as part of the Decarceration Movement, share an interest in prison reform (meaning improved conditions and treatment of incarcerated populations), they are far more concerned with the total abolition of prisons in the U. S. and abroad. Secondly, much like Michelle Alexander's renowned monolith, The New Jim Crow, many of its contributors are also concerned with the logistics of incarceration (i.e. which populations are incarcerated, the implications of incarceration on social justice issues, etc.). However, in The End of Prisons, the prison industrial complex and racial injustice are only the proverbial tip of the prison iceberg.

Perhaps its boldest intervention is to redefine "the carceral," not in terms of brick and mortar buildings with bars, but rather as any site of social control. Drawing from the likes of Michel Foucault, Angela Y. Davis, W. E. B. DuBois, et.al, each selection conceptually enlarges our understanding of "prison," thus enabling each scholar/activists to address myriad overlapping and intersecting social justice issues, their origins, capacity, and potential solutions. The scholarship of the editors, Mechtild Nagel and Anthony Nocella, provide the introduction, the first, and the final essays of thirteen chapters, laying the foundation for and framing the remaining scholarship. In the introduction, for example, Nagel and Nocella define an incarcerated subject as any subject who "live[s] under the systems of oppression such as the violence of poverty, racism, sexism, internalized colonialism, ableism, trans- and homophobia" (5). …

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