By Lee Bernstein
Within the Nineteen Seventies, whereas politicians and activists open air prisons debated the right kind reaction to crime, incarcerated humans contributed to shaping these debates although a wide variety of outstanding political and literary writings. Lee Bernstein explores the forces that sparked a dramatic ''prison paintings renaissance,'' laying off mild on how incarcerated humans produced robust works of writing, functionality, and visible paintings. those integrated every thing from George Jackson's progressive Soledad Brother to Miguel Piñero's acclaimed off-Broadway play and Hollywood movie brief Eyes . a unprecedented diversity of legal programs--fine arts, theater, secondary schooling, and prisoner-run programs--allowed the voices of prisoners to steer the Black Arts stream, the Nuyorican writers, ''New Journalism,'' and political theater, one of the most vital aesthetic contributions of the last decade. via the Nineteen Eighties and '90s, prisoners' academic and inventive courses have been scaled again or eradicated because the ''war on crime'' escalated. yet through then those prisoners' phrases had crossed over the wall, aiding many americans to reconsider the which means of the partitions themselves and, finally, the which means of the society that produced them. by means of the Eighties and '90s, prisoners' academic and inventive courses have been scaled again or eradicated because the ''war on crime'' escalated. yet via then those prisoners' phrases had crossed over the wall, supporting many americans to reconsider the which means of the partitions themselves and, finally, the which means of the society that produced them.
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Additional info for America Is the Prison: Arts and Politics in Prison in the 1970s
In order to shape the answers to these questions, the Nixon campaign and the administration’s policymakers entered the cultural realm, substituting postwar liberalism’s narrative of “social improvement” with one of law enforcement. Over time, this shift would become a neoconservative reframing of crime control. However, the cultural politics of crime control in the late 1960s and early 1970s reveals a more complicated story of continuity and reversal. Although Ramsey Clark and the Great Society may have been convenient rhetorical foils for John Mitchell and Richard Nixon, Clark’s liberalism also was a useful bureaucratic and ideological structure for the repressive policing and incarceration that would come to dominate criminal justice.
In his use of the idea of a “decent citizen,” Nixon could draw on a homey phrase while invoking threatening images and foreboding statistics. The images and statistics supported Nixon’s belief that the normal coercive controls that govern the behavior of most people were not in place in some parts of the United States. He pledged to restore them. The third advertisement in this series provided the most dramatic invocation of the threat that crime posed to decent citizens. It featured an apparently wealthy, middle-aged woman in a fur coat walking down a dark city street.
The changes in the criminal justice system called for by leading right-wing figures like Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and John Mitchell grew from their explicit dismissal of dominant ideas about the social and environmental origins of criminality. At the same time that conservatives sharply critiqued liberals, leftist criminologists advocated structural and materialist arguments about crime and the function of policing that allowed little room for reform efforts like the Great Society. Tony Platt, Paul Takagi, Richard Quinney, and the French theorist Louis Althusser influenced the development of a Marxian criminology that saw the state as a fundamentally exploitative institution.