Journal of Prisoners on Prisons
General Information For 25 years, the Journal of Prisoners on Prisons has been a prisoner written, academically oriented and peer reviewed, non-profit journal, based on the tradition of the penal press. It brings the knowledge produced by prison writers together with academic arguments to enlighten public discourse about the current state of carceral institutions. This is particularly important because with few exceptions, definitions of deviance and constructions of those participating in these defined acts are incompletely created by social scientists, media representatives, politicians and those in the legal community. These analyses most often promote self-serving interests, omit the voices of those most affected, and facilitate repressive and reactionary penal policies and practices. As a result, the JPP attempts to acknowledge the accounts, experiences, and criticisms of the criminalized by providing an educational forum that allows women and men to participate in the development of research that concerns them directly.
In an age where `crime` has become lucrative and exploitable, the JPP exists as an important alternate source of information that competes with popularly held stereotypes and misconceptions about those who are currently, or those who have in the past, faced the deprivation of liberty. Below, you can download individual articles from the issue via our new Open Journal Systems website that we will be migrating all our back issues to in 2018. You can also purchase printed copies of the issue via the University of Ottawa Press. To subscribe or purchase hard copies of the journal that sustain the publication and allow us to send issues to prisoners, please visit the University of Ottawa Press website. The JPP is currently accepting submissions for VOLUME 27, which will include at least one general issue.
For more details about the project, please download the call for papers. Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of Convict Criminology, Andreas Aresti and Sacha Darke – both of the University of Westminster in the United Kingdom – will be editing a special issue of the JPP featuring contributions on a variety of topics, including, but not limited to the coproduction of knowledge, auto-ethnography, action research, supporting current and former prisoners in higher education, and the internationalisation of CC. For more details about the project, please download the call for papers.
New Study on Rising Suicide Rates in the US Suggests Capitalism Is Quite Literally Killing Americans
A study released late last week showed that suicide rates have risen significantly across the country. Mental Health America estimates that 30 to 70 percent of Americans who end their own lives are suffering from either severe depression or bipolar disorder. According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 54 percent of Americans who committed suicide in 27 states in 2015 had no known mental health condition. The CDC study, which examined suicide rates in all 50 states between 1999 and 2016, found that the rate of Americans taking their own lives increased by an alarming 38 to 58 percent in 12 states, 31 to 37 percent in another 12 states, and 19 percent to 30 percent in another 12 states. The CDC found that on average, suicide rates jumped by more than 30 percent for all 50 states.
In 2011, The Federal Reserve Bank of New York published a report showing that student debt had risen by 511 percent over a 12-year period. Student debt continued to increase at a catastrophic rate, with the New York Fed finding that the average American household has roughly 828 percent more student debt in 2017 than in 1999. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that between 1999 and 2017, health insurance premiums increased by more than 200 percent. In the meantime, wage growth for the bottom 90 percent of American workers has been at a standstill since the start of the 21st century. Even though workers saw an average 15 percent increase in wages during the 1990s, data from the Economic Policy Institute shows that the vast majority of wage earners saw no cumulative growth in real annual wages between 1999 and 2013 despite worker productivity increasing by approximately 71 percent.
When the troubling rise in American suicide rates is taken in context with the relentless redistribution of wealth from the bottom 90 percent to the top 1 percent that took place over the same period, the culprit behind the wave of suicides is abundantly clear. If local, state, and federal governments don’t take drastic steps to correct the inequality plaguing society, the trend of rising suicide rates will only continue.
John Berger, Enemy of Neoliberal Capitalism
Berger also directs his anger at the lying and hypocrisy that permeated. The only reason I’m not naming some of the notables who signed the letter is because Berger chose not to. In 1945 and 2002, the cynical and opportunistic misuse of both language and history for Berger was directly complicit in the perpetuation of violence on a mass scale, in which non-Western peoples are destroyed without remorse and the identity of the victims is irrelevant to the perpetrators or to American consumers of dominant media outlets. Berger concurs with the overview of the Zapatista leader Marcos that the end of the Cold War is the start of the 4th World War, meaning a struggle between a reconfigured field of global agents for markets and resources amid which the logic of financialization is extended to all aspects of life. One of Berger’s key essays here is Against the Great Defeat of the World from 1997 with its extraordinary recuperation of Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights.
One can imagine what must have been Berger’s impatience or irritation with post-modern notions of a borderless rhizomatic global surface of flows and seamless circuits that somehow had leveled established hierarchies and redistributed power to the multitude. Perhaps most important is Berger’s refusal of the enforced invisibility of the immense global underclass, its desperation, and its hopes. Berger’s own work was never an application of Marxist theory. One repeatedly encounters the consonance between Berger’s thinking and crucial sections in the German Ideology and the 1844 Manuscripts. I’ll conclude with one of the many instances in which Berger reclaims a work from the past for its value as an opening onto the chaos of our own time.
Berger here turns to Simone Weil for her avowal that the one of hardest tasks we face is the recognition of affliction, the recognition that the sufferer exists. For Berger, what Gericault’s portrait retains for us in the present is simply a trace of the fragile human faculty of compassion.