The focus of our system on retrospective punishment means that the hundreds of thousands of dollars in public money used for incarceration will not help cause another black woman to suffer the same fate. No commitment has been made to rid our country of ingrained toxic masculinity or the addiction to power and control that create the conditions for harm. The focus on retaliation creates a false sense of security.
Black women deserve to experience security and to have close family and intimate partner relationships that are full of love and support. But for black women and girls, one is the The main causes of death are murder by a partner. Despite this violence, black women don't like calling the police because we know that every time we introduce any form of law enforcement into our lives, we are risking the safety of our loved ones and ourselves. And beyond the harm to others, black women know that the prison's industrial complex will be punished us for trying to survive. This happened to Marissa Alexander, a black woman who tried to defend herself against an abusive partner by firing a warning shot with a weapon that she was allowed to carry. The result was a 20-year prison sentence. Marissa has been prosecuted in the same state where a white Latino man ran free after Martin's murder of a teenage tray.
Mariame Kaba, one of the most prolific abolitionist organizers of our time, declares that in the eyes of the state Blacks have no self to defend.Black women and girls like and like Marissa Bresha meadows, Chrystul Kizer, Cece McDonald, Cyntoia Brown, Tracy McCarterand the thousands of black-criminalized survivors, whose names we may never hear, know better than any of us that the prison industrial complex does not protect the survivors. I often think of the overlooked black transsexuals like Tony McDade being killed. criminalized, or attacked from law enforcement agencies. I think of them New Jersey Fourand some of the young people I worked with while serving as an attorney for girls and women in the New York criminal justice system. I can't forget a young woman I met on Rikers Island who had physical scars from violence and survival following commercial sexual exploitation (human trafficking). When we talked, she said nothing about her "pimp" being prosecuted. Instead, she made it clear that she needed a safe place to live.
While feminists with cancer cite stories of girls and women being traded to warrant a reliance on the prison's industrial complex, they often ignore the nuance and complexity of survival. For girls who have been exploited, returning to the causer provides for their most basic needs – housing, food, and shelter – that are not met by a structure of racial capitalism, and no arrest will prevent them from doing anything they need to to survive.
Black women know the harm we can do if we turn to the criminal justice system for our safety, and it has been the most compulsory for us to redefine safety. We also know the pain of racial trauma well and urgently want healing and transformation for the very people who cause us harm. This is why black women are probably best positioned Anti-carceral feminists. Anti-carceral feminists believe in the liberation of all human beings from racist, sexist oppression and know that freedom must begin with the dismantling of everything that has to do with putting people in cages.
At a moment when people in the United States are forced to expect violence from police and prisons, the question arises:what do we do with the rapist and murderer ”has surfaced again. Anti-carceral feminists and Abolitionists have answered and continue to say we want a world where all people, regardless of gender or gender, can experience safety and wellbeing, and we know that this is not possible because of the prison's industrial complex.
People who commit acts of violence know full well that there are prisons and that knowledge is not a deterrent. The mountain of evidence points to a different Conclusion that prisons and policing are criminogenic in and of itself. Not only are they failed investments, but they are extensions of slavery in the US. Ultimately, black women are under constant threat, not because there aren't enough prisons or police officers to "catch" the people who perpetrate violence, but quite the opposite – because trust in prisons hinders our collective ability to make a world to imagine where there is healing and security and wholeness exists.
Black feminists in the Combahee River Collective developed a vision of freedom and security decades ago when they declared that in order to experience liberation, we would all have to work to dismantle systems of oppression, including capitalism which depletes so much of our creativity and eyesight. Capitalism strengthens our collective dependence on the industrial complex of prisons to solve any problem. The energy needed to build a community is drawn into the hustle and bustle of the overnight stay, leaving little time to bring mutual help together, heal yourself from racial trauma, or find out who in your community you might be working with create hyperlocal systems of accountability.
I am inspired by the work event close something elseHowever, many of the transformative justice processes I know take place in the context of community organizations that already have an accountability infrastructure in place. There are real questions about how we react to violence when the person who caused harm does not want to get involved in a lawsuit or when they are not affiliated with a community group.
I do not pretend to have the answers, nor do I pretend to have ignored countless terrifying circumstances that could create an unknown future. The desire for a properly written security recipe does not negate the fact that the prison's industrial complex is constantly killing black people, and it cannot be reformed. The lack of answers has forced black women to build, create, introduce, and organize against the system of racialized capitalism that steals the energy and radical imagination of the most marginalized.
Ashley is a black Christian feminist who works to dismantle systems of oppression and make space for black and marginalized people to live in safety, freedom and joy. She is a lawyer at Howard University and a graduate of Douglass College.
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