Here’s an interesting website from CCA — the Corrections Corporation of America, this nation’s fifth-largest “prison system” (their terminology). There are so many reasons to be fascinated by this: The rhetoric itself deserves a few dissertations. But for my money, it is the casual linkage of three wildly disparate areas of human experience — criminal justice, faith, and capital — into a single, omnivorous machine.
I will confess that — largely because of my entirely accidental birth into an upper-middle class, educated, rural American white Protestant family at the end of the 20th Century — I know very little about the Prison-Industrial Complex. I am fortunate in that fashion. I remain suspicious, however, of any situation in which Capital deploys Faith as a solution to any problem: Capital is driven, always and exclusively, by profit, and there is no profit in a transcendent metaphysics (“You can’t,” we are often reminded, “take it with you”). But Faith offers Capital so many tempting, worldly perks: Tax-free status, social standing, and most importantly, a rhetoric and a vocabulary beyond reproach, beyond critique. Some of which may, or may not, serve the incarcerated, in this case, but all of which, inarguably, help further the project of Capital.
The American Prison-Industrial Complex, Empire, and the S(t)imulation of Empathy
The following represents a collection of fascinating essays, articles, and publications, intended for diverse audiences, related to the matter of prison design, architecture, and ethics. They are all deeply interesting: I ask only that you pick a couple and read through them as you work through a few sessions of Prison Architect.
NB The list is a mess, as my original folder of articles went missing after the original post — I must have put the articles on the wrong server somewhere, and now I can’t find them. I’ll reorganize, label, and order these presently.
I tried building the syllabus this semester by relying exclusively on daring fireball’s markdown, in hopes that it would solve a perennial problem: 43 different iterations of every syllabus, every semester, and not one of them the real, final syllabus, because I’d uploaded it to a WordPress site, edited it a few times during the course of the semester — meaning that the “real syllabus” only exists virtually, if you catch my drift.
Anyway, I’ve tried something new (involving Dropbox and some wicked Python action). It has mostly worked, but now I have to repair about 80+ links. For the nonce, though, it includes the links you’ll need.
The page is identified as “Syllabus beta,” and it should be linked from the upper right-hand corner of this site.