QUICKLET ON ANGELA Y. DAVIS'S ARE PRISONS OBSOLETE?
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ABOUT THE BOOK Dr. Angela Y. Davis' Are Prisons Obsolete? is a formative work about prison abolition. She explores and critiques the American penal system. The work is especially significant as the prison system continues to grow. She does not call for prison reform?although conditions will need to be ameliorated during decarceration?but for the eradication of prisons and their replacement with positive systems, such as schools, job training, health care and recreation programs. People have an extremely hard time imagining the world without prisons. We think that they are an inherent and unavoidable part of society. Davis examines the historical, social, racial, economic and political reasons and context that created the prison system, in order to "encourage readers to question their own assumptions about the prison" (Angela Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete? pg 10). Davis hopes that once these elements have been exposed it will be possible to "give up our usual way of thinking about punishment as an inevitable consequence of crime" (Davis 112) and imagine a world without prisons. MEET THE AUTHOR Nicole Bemboom is a San Francisco based writer. In addition to writing for the exciting new publisher Hyperink, she covers the best of modern craft and design for the online magazine Handful of Salt. She received her BA in Modern Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz. EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK In the chapter "Slavery, Civic Rights, and Abolitionist Perspectives Toward Prison," Davis examines the history of modern prisons, which started developing out of a reform of the corporeal punishment common in England during the American Revolution. Reformers believed that punishment ?if carried out in isolation, behind the walls of the prison?would cease to be revenge and would actually reform those who had broken the law? (Davis 41).