I met both of my children's fathers while they were still incarcerated. I have friends who did as much as twenty-five years straight. I have friends today who are still caught up in the system in one way or another. I went up to the craft fair in Angola last October and very much want to return, if possible, next month. And I'm incredibly clear about the fact that the criminal code is the line between personal freedom and the power structure, which is made up of those, we should remember, who get to decide what constitutes a crime and how it should be punished.
The photo above appears in Douglas A. Blackmon's book, Slavery by Another Name. The poster is an example of Ricardo Levins Morales' work and is available from Northland Poster Collective. It reads "More than ninety thousand inmates in US prisons labor in a booming "prison industrial complex" for a growing list of major corporations. As unprecedented numbers of Americans are swept into the penal system by crime, drug, and welfare policies, their labor is being sold at bargain rates. Laws prohibiting prison labor have fallen as prison sales have swelled to nearly a billion dollars per year. At the close of the century, the prison workforce is an increasingly important arena for organizing."