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A different kind of cage: When prison reforms expand imprisonment.


Just because something might be slightly better than the institution called prison - that doesn't mean it's good. It's still oppressive, it's still a form of a cage. The penalty for violating electronic monitoring is often re-incarceration, so it actually becomes a driver of incarceration in many cases, because it's so easy to violate the terms. Plus, this is still a form of confinement built on a foundation on White supremacy. It hasn't challenged any of the roots of the system of incarceration.

Journalists Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law explain how the prison industrial complex adapts to popular calls for reform by expanding surveillance and carceral mechanisms across society - for social control, corporate profit, and the survival of punishment at the heart of capitalist society.

Maya and Victoria are authors of Prison by Any Other Name: The Harmful Consequences of Popular Reforms from The New Press.

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Maya Schenwar

Maya Schenwar is a writer, editor, journalist and organizer who has spent the last 20 years working tosculpt new ways for journalism to serve the public good and fuel social transformation. She spent 13 years as Editor-in-Chief of Truthout, an independent social justice news publication, and is currently the organization’s Editor-at-Large and Board President. Recently, Maya founded the Truthout Center for Grassroots Journalism. She is the co-author (with Victoria Law) of Prison by Any Other Name: The Harmful Consequences of Popular Reforms (The New Press, July 2020), and the author of Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn’t Work and How We Can Do Better (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2014). Both books challenge the ingrained logic of prison and policing that holds our society captive, and share the work of bold and creative efforts to uproot the prison-industrial complex. Maya is also the co-editor (with Joe Macaré and Alana Yu-Lan Price) of Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? Police Violence and Resistance in the United States, an anthology focused on the entrenched racism and violence of policing and the fight to dismantle that institution. She authored a chapter in The Long Term: Resisting Life Sentences, Working Toward Freedom, and co-authored a chapter in the anthology Welcome to the Revolution: Universalizing Resistance for Social Justice and Democracy in Perilous Times, with Alana Yu-Lan Price.


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Victoria Law

Victoria Law is a freelance writer and editor.


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