Why Feminsim Should Tackle Prison Injustice
Being a prisoner sends you to a dark place. Incarceration was never designed to be enjoyable, but a careful mix of negative experiences has made prisons vile and toxic. Unreasonable sentencing, budget shortages, a corrupt justice system, and a vengeful belief of rectification are just some of the things most of today’s prisoners face. Rehabilitation has been put aside with all the intentions of being forgotten, used as an excuse to treat prisoners like vermin. This is what prison injustice looks like.
Discussions surrounding the purpose of prisons are heavily shrouded by stigmas and stereotypes, but many do not realize that these systems are counterproductive. Those above continue to propagate ideas that the world is dangerous and evil must be apprehended, but if you’re Black, a Muslim, a migrant, and woman, the continuous cycle of prison has never made the world a safer space.
Rooted firmly in false ideologies, prison systems have done nothing by bolstering an industry of profit. People behind bars are traumatized and never reformed, kept there for labor that continues to keep the prison industrial complex alive. Police brutality also continues to run rampant, which is made worse within the concrete walls of these torture chambers.
Deeply rooted in patriarchy and oppression, it’s only right to bring prison injustice into the table of feminism. The goal of feminism has always been transformative justice, which is why dismantling prison injustice warrants the efforts of feminisms from all over the world.
In an effort to shed light on the horrors of prison injustice, here are two concepts that explain why feminism can be the answer:
Feminism stands on gender justice, and that framework also applies to address prison injustice. Women in prison face oppression like no other, nearly double the rate of men inmates. At the forefront of the growing population of female prisoners are Black women, as well as transgender women.
Most of these female prisoners are criminalized simply for being who they are, their social status, and for being forced to partake in survival tactics to get by. This brings us back to the issue of gender—in a world running on the clutches of patriarchy, women of all races continue to be oppressed, and many of them end up in prisons, the streets, and ultimately, death.
Feminism isn’t just for women empowerment—struggle transcends all, interconnected in all other issues. That said, it’s only logical to deduce that prison injustice is part of the equation. There is no separation of oppression—what inequality women struggle with is the same inequality prisoners suffer from. If patriarchy is the main villain, we need to address its roots and its roots run deep and feed on other systems that affect the value of human life.
The very factors driving the prison system, such as racism, police brutality, and classism is precisely why feminism should be involved. It
The Pursuit of Prison Feminism
If your idea of feminism stands on the idea of mere women empowerment of tampons and topless shirts, you need to step back and understand what it truly means to dismantle the patriarchy. In a society where capitalism rules and people are treated as commodities, the struggle of all is the struggle of feminism. That includes the prison industrial complex—a warped vision of safety, standing proud and tall in the fruits of oppression. If you wish to be a feminist, be a feminist of peace, love, and resistance—not just for women, for every oppressed individual of the world.
If you wish to change the course of the world, support the Success Stories Program. We are building a world free of patriarchy and prison injustice, as every harmful action caused by prisoners comes from the deeply set patriarchal beliefs.
To learn more about transformational feminism, we offer you Success Stories’ CNN Prison Documentary, Feminist On Cellblock Y, an on-going series about the realities of prison life.
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