And the Senate will consider solitary confinement one month after the largest prison guard union in Texas called for the curtailment of the use of solitary on the state’s death row. Let me say that again: Prison guards in Texas, the
world’s nation’s epicenter of capital punishment, have come to believe that isolating prisoners in this fashion is self-defeating. As the title of the Congressional hearing suggests, there is today, indeed, a great deal of “reassessment” of solitary confinement not just in moral terms but in practical, political, economic and legal ones as well.
Something clearly is happening here and it’s not just based upon some slight uptick in public acknowledgment of the immorality of confining fellow human beings to such cruelty no matter what their crimes. There is movement here because there is growing evidence that the inhumane treatment of prisoners is neither safe nor efficient. There is movement here because there is now a strong economic case for prison reform. There is movement, in other words, even though there still is an overwhelming lack of empathy toward the punished.
But to understand precisely what is happening, and where this new reformist sentiment might lead, it’s important to understand how deep is the American penchant for punishment—and especially for cruel punishment. It is important to appreciate how conservative an industry the corrections industry is, how much institutional and emotional inertia exists blocking reform to it, and how much lobbying power and money exists to keep people in prison. And it is important to know how stacked the law is against the inmates themselves." @1 week ago with 72 notes
In Vietnam, the U.S Military Command made rape ‘socially acceptable’ in fact, it was unwritten, but clear policy. When GIs were encouraged to rape Vietnamese women and girls (and they were sometimes advised to “search” women “with their penises”) a weapon of mass political terrorism was forged. Since the Vietnamese women were distinguished by their heroic contributions to their people’s liberation struggle, the military retaliation specifically suited for them was rape. While women were hardly immune to the violence inflicted on men, they were especially singled out as victims of terrorism by a sexist military force governed by the principle that was exclusively a man’s affair.
“I saw one case where a woman was shot by a sniper, one of our snipers” a GI said.
“When we got up to her she was asking for water. And the lieutenant said to kill her. So he ripped her clothes, they stabbed her in both breasts, they spread her eagle and shoved an E tool (entrenching) up her vagina. And then they took that out and used a tree limb and she was shot”
In the same way that rape was an institutionalized ingredient of aggression carried out against the Vietnamese people, designed to intimidate and terrorize the women, slave owners encouraged the terroristic use of rape to put Black women in their place. If Black women had achieved a sense of their own strength and a strong urge to resist, the violent sexual assaults —so the slaveholders might have reasoned— would remind the women of their essential and inalterable femaleness. In the male supremacist vision of the period, this meant passivity, acquiescence and weakness." @2 weeks ago with 1002 notes
(via disciplesofmalcolm)@2 weeks ago with 13716 notes