† Criminal InJustice is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Kay Whitlock, co-author of Queer (In)Justice, is contributing editor of CI. Criminal Injustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm.
Editors note by nancy a heitzeg
For Albert Woodfox, Kalief Browder, Millions more..
June is Torture Awareness Month. How ludicrous really to type these words – to imagine, in the 21st Century, that torture remains an issue here (or anywhere), or that we are unaware.
But of course it is an issue here. Our entire system of criminal injustice — from policing to prison to capital punishment – in built in varying degrees on torture. Built on a desire to control/cage, dehumanize/kill that is insatiable in its’ scope (due in part to the penchant for profit here) or in any limits to conditions of cruelty. The long-standing struggles of Albert Woodfox and Kalief Browder in isolation are but two of millions. They are not isolated cases.
And of course we are aware. Most of us have, in fact, cosigned this. Others claim condemnation. But tepid requests for “reform”, outrage over selected cases, hope that if we say enough names, click enough petitions, tweet/retweet enough egregious cases that something will magically change — all of these responses, in the end, solidify a system which is well-equipped to manage the predictable spectacle and script.
So connect all the stories to the level of structure, eschew the proposed quick fixes and the click-bait merchants. Go to the root – indict and dismantle the very system.
Only one word is relevant now and it is Abolition.
National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Breaking Down the Box