Friday, February 24, 2012

Quote of the Week: The Attica Archipellago

"For most privileged, professional people, the experience of confinement is a mere brush, encountered after a kid's arrest, say. For a great many poor people in America, particularly poor black men, prison is a destination that braids through an ordinary life, much as high school and college do for rich white ones. More than half of all black men without a high-school diploma go to prison at some time in their lives. Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today -- perhaps the fundamental fact, as slavery was the fundamental fact of 1850. In truth, there are more black men in the grip of the criminal-justice system -- in prison, on probation, or on parole -- than there were in slavery then. Over all, there are now more people under "correctional supervision" in America -- more than six million -- then were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height. That city of the confined and uncontrolled, Lockuptown, is now the second largest in the United States."
 - Adam Gopnik, "The Caging of America," pp.72-73 in the January 30, 2012 New Yorker

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