Prisons and Power


‘The prison has become a black hole into which the detritus of contemporary capitalism is deposited’ – Angela Davis

In the long-awaited return of Bensplaining podcast, I interview activist and academic Marlee Raible about the prison-industrial complex. We chat about:

  • the racist history and present of the Australian and US prison systems
  • why being ‘tough’ on crime perpetuates it
  • the links between profit, poverty and prisons
  • alternatives to incarceration, like restorative justice
  • Marlee’s experience with the Zapatista movement in southern Mexico.

Reading List

  • Marlee’s phenomenal podcast Carceral Complex dives deep into these issues.
  • The 13th, available on Netflix. An exceptional documentary on the history, horror, and corruption of the American prison-industrial complex.
  • Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Davis. A powerful case for prison abolition that changed my mind on the issue.
  • The Tall Man, by Chloe Hooper. A devastating exploration of the cover up of a white police officer’s killing of an Aboriginal man on Palm Island in 2004.
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander. An analysis of how the U.S. criminal justice system uses the War on Drugs as a primary tool for enforcing traditional, as well as new, modes of racial discrimination and oppression.
  • The Little Book of Restorative Justice, by Howard Zehr. A practical guide to tools communities can use for a restorative, rather than retributive, approach to justice.
  • Discipline and Punish, by Michel Foucault. A seminal analysis of crime, justice and state power.
  • The moving story of Hector Black, told by Radiolab.

If you enjoy the podcast, let someone know or chuck us a share on social media. You can also listen on iTunes.


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