Posts tagged prisons
immigration detention is incredibly disgusting but I wish people would stop saying things like “asylum seekers are not criminals! don’t lock them up!” because like, you think everyone in prison got a fair trial? or a trial at all? a lot of people in prison are just waiting to be tried, often for months on end. a lot of people are in prison because they’re mentally ill, or physically sick, or homeless, and some clueless judge has decided they’re best off in jail, because prison reform has gone hand in hand with prison expansion and the end result is that prisons have absorbed a lot of the duties of the welfare state. you think people in prison got there purely through their own selfish choices? you think they’re not dealing with the effects of racism, colonialism, capitalism, war? it’s the same businesses running prisons and immigration detention faculties, the same governments granting contracts. seeking asylum is not a crime, it’s true. would it be better if it was? would that make you feel better about the state of justice in Australia? would it be better if asylum seekers were locked up indefinitely waiting for a trial? better than if they were locked up indefinitely waiting for an answer on an asylum claim?
anyway other people (e.g. cross border collective) have been saying this better, for longer, I’m not saying anything new, I’m just feeling particularly harrowed by the interconnection of everything terrible today
Marc Lumont Hill at the talk ‘End Mass Incarceration’ - Riverside Church, Harlem New York (via icecreamritual)
for real. this is true in Australia, too, and probably most other countries that have experienced neoliberalisation over the past few decades. public housing has been seriously disinvested in, and at the same time, prisons have expanded dramatically.
this has all been happening while prisons have been putting on a kinder, gentler facade; while they have been presented as not for punishment, but for rehabilitation. as a result, many judges now put people in prison or in remand largely because their living situation is considered dangerous, or unstable enough that it makes it hard to track you down. if you are homeless and you are brought up on any form of criminal charges — even very minimal ones that would not normally carry a prison sentence — you are likely to be imprisoned until the end of your trial, which, if you’ve ever been involved in a court case, you know how long that shit gets dragged out. for more info on this, see ‘Homelessness and Criminalisation: The Dangerous Intersections of Gender, Race and Class,’ in Parity: Policing Homelessness: Flat Out/CHRIP (2012) (link opens a pdf). plus, a lot of people with mental illnesses in the Northern Territory facing no charges are imprisoned because there is no long-term housing for them. (more.)
basically this is not just a figure of speech, it’s literally the case.