How does looking at Los Angeles help us understand California and the United States more broadly? To make your argument, describe three or four pivotal events or time periods in Los Angeles history and relate them to broader changes in the state and country. 4 pages total
HIST 177 Final Paper Outline
Much of California history has happened in Los Angeles. How does looking at Los Angeles
help us understand California and the United States more broadly? To make your
argument, describe three or four pivotal events or time periods in Los Angeles history and
relate them to broader changes in the state and country.
– 4 Pages Total, double spaced
– NO OUTSIDE RESEARCH!
1. Bless Their Little Hearts (1984) • Charles Woodbury • LA Rebellion and the UCLA film
2. Wartime economy and race dynamics in Los Angeles
– Wage structure of the high pressure economy
– Chester Himes and If He Hollers Let Him Go
– Zoot Suit Riots
3. 1.) The Oxnard Sugar Beet Strike of 1903
– Racism of mainline US Labor unions
4. Hollywood history and population growth
AMERICAN CROSSROADS EDITED BY EARL LEWIS, GEORGE LIPSITZ, PEGGY PASCOE, GEORGE SÁNCHEZ, AND DANA TAKAGI
GOLDEN GULAG PRISONS, SURPLUS, CRISIS, AND OPPOSITION IN GLOBALIZING CALIFORNIA
RUTH WILSON GILMORE
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS B E R K E LEY LOS AN G E LES LO N D O N
University of California Press, one of the most distinguished uni- versity presses in the United States, enriches lives around the world by advancing scholarship in the humanities, social sciences, and nat- ural sciences. Its activities are supported by the UC Press Founda- tion and by philanthropic contributions from individuals and insti- tutions. For more information, visit www.ucpress.edu.
University of California Press Berkeley and Los Angeles, California
University of California Press, Ltd. London, England
© 2007 by The Regents of the University of California
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Gilmore, Ruth Wilson, 1950–. Golden gulag : prisons, surplus, crisis, and opposition in
globalizing California / Ruth Wilson Gilmore. p. cm—(American crossroads ; 21).
Includes bibliographical references and index. isbn-13: 978-0-520-22256-4 (cloth : alk. paper) isbn-10: 0-520-22256-3 (cloth : alk. paper) isbn-13: 978-0-520-24201-2 (pbk. : alk. paper) isbn-10: 0-520-24201-7 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Prisons—California. 2. Prisons—Economic
aspects—California. 3. Imprisonment—California. 4. Criminal justice, Administration of—California. 5. Discrimination in criminal justice administration—California. 6. Minorities—California. 7. California—Economic conditions. I. Title. II. Series.
HV9475.C2G73 2007 365'.9794—dc22 2006011674
Manufactured in the United States of America
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This book is printed on New Leaf EcoBook 60, containing 60% postconsumer waste, processed chlorine free; 30% de-inked recycled fiber, elemental chlorine free; and 10% FSC-certified virgin fiber, to- tally chlorine free. EcoBook 60 is acid free and meets the minimum requirements of ansi/astm d 5634–01 (Permanence of Paper).1
11 10 9 8 7 6 5
FOR MY MOTHER, RUTH ISABEL HERB WILSON AND IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY FATHER, COURTLAND SEYMOUR WILSON
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List of Illustrations / i x List of Tables / x i Acknowledgments / x i i i List of Abbreviations / x x i
prologue: The Bus / 1 1. Introduction / 5 2. The California Political Economy / 3 0 3. The Prison Fix / 87 4. Crime, Croplands, and Capitalism / 1 2 8 5. Mothers Reclaiming Our Children / 1 8 1 6. What Is to Be Done? / 2 4 1 epilogue: Another Bus / 2 4 9
Notes / 2 5 3 Bibliography and References / 2 8 1 Index / 3 5 5
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1. California crime index, 1952–1995 / 8 2. Revised California crime index, 1952–2000 / 9 3. Defense prime contracts and manufacturing jobs,
1972–1992 / 4 4 4. Population growth by region, 1980–1990 / 47 5. Growth in the ratio of property/proprietors’ (profit) income
to total income, 1977–1996 / 5 9 6. Rise in interest income as a percentage of property/propri-
etors’ income and decline in the prime rate, 1980–1989 / 6 1 7. California farmland and irrigated land, in millions of acres,
1945–1987 / 6 6 8. Votes cast for governor and general fund expenditures,
1978–1994 / 8 5
California state adult prisons / 1 0
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1. Employees in Principal California Manufacturing Indus- tries, 1980–1995 / 5 1
2. California Population, Labor Force, Jobs, Unemployment, and Prisoners, 1973–2000 / 7 3
3. Three Waves of Structural Change in Sources of California Tax Revenues, 1967–1989 / 8 2
4. CDC Prisoner Population by Race/Ethnicity / 1 1 1 5. CDC Commitments by Controlling Offense / 1 1 2 6. Mechanization of Cotton Production, 1940–1980 / 1 4 1 7. Overview of Kings County Agriculture, 1982–1992 / 1 4 4 8. Annual Change in Corcoran Housing Stock and Vacancy
Rate, Selected Years / 1 5 9
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Golden Gulag is a late first book—late in my life, late to the press, and so late in the twentieth century that it appears well into the twenty-first. In some ways, the contents are old news, but alas not old enough to have become mere bad memories or the stuff of history to learn from. Over the years, as I’ve wrestled with the questions and evidence that shape the book, I’ve had so much help from so many people that this section of the volume should, by rights, be longer than any chapter and contain far more entries than the bibliography. However, well into my second half- century on this troubled planet, I’m as forgetful as I am in- debted—and hopeful that if you don’t find your name here, you’ll forgive the oversight. And may all, named or not, excuse the errors.
Poor Neil Smith. As Geography Department chair at Rutgers, he generously accepted a cranky middle-aged activist packing a couple of drama degrees and a headful of social theory to be his Ph.D. student and got plenty of drama in return. He also made me think systematically about society and space, accepted my for-
x i i i
mulation for what happened, why, and to what end—and then made me prove it to him, revision after revision, in my disserta- tion. We fought a lot. We also celebrated often, and I’m grateful to Neil and to Cindi Katz for embracing both Gilmores the mo- ment we arrived at New Brunswick, for wining and dining and throwing parties for us for four years, and making me a scholar- activist.
At Rutgers, Professors Leela Fernandes, Dorothy Sue Cobble, Bob Lake, Ann Markusen, Susan Fainstein, John Gillis, and Caridad Souza taught me to work across disciplines; Leela, in particular, models the analytical courage interdisciplinarity de- mands. I hope Susan will accept this book in lieu of the paper I owe her.
When I headed off to Rutgers, my Los Angeles compañeras— especially Theresa Allison, Geri Silva, Pauline Milner, and Donna Warren—in Mothers Reclaiming Our Children wished me well, and they always welcomed me back to the fold—ex- pecting me always to bring useful knowledge and help make their knowledge useful.
A coalition sparked by Mothers ROC and Families to Amend California’s Three Strikes (FACTS) expanded statewide thanks to the relentless energy of Geri Silva, Gail Blackwell, Barbara Brooks, Sue Rheams, Claudia Marriott, Julia Gonzales, Mary Avanti, Doug Kieso, Dennis Duncan, Carmen Ewell, and Christy Johnson, among many other tireless people.
My capacity to think theoretically, but speak practically, I owe to the stern sisterly tutelage of my Wages for Housework men- tors, Margaret Prescod and Selma James.
Without Mike Davis there would be no Golden Gulag. He shared ideas, research, and resources, pointed me toward Moth-
x i v A C K N O W L E D G M E N TS
ers ROC and Corcoran, asked plenty of great questions, read the manuscript thoroughly, and also showed me the practical con- nections between analytical, political, and pedagogical creativity. Years ago, when neither of us had a proper job, we shook our graying heads in dismay at a future of endless adjuncting. Now we both have steady jobs; who knew?
George Lipsitz, Dave Roediger, Robin D. G. Kelley, Don Mitchell, Beth Richie, Ed Soja, Audrey Kobayashi, Andrea Smith, Lauren Berlant, Lakshman Yapa, Cindi Katz, Greg Hooks, Amy Kaplan, George Sánchez, Chris Newfield, Fred Moten, Devra Weber, Barbara Christian, Bruce Franklin, An- gela Y. Davis, Wendy Brown, Cathy Cohen, Judith Butler, Wah- neema Lubiano, Steve Martinot, Joy James, Linda Evans, Cheryl Harris, Joan Dayan, Mike Merrill, Paul Gilroy, Vron Ware, Peter Linebaugh, Bobby Wilson, Cedric Robinson, Elizabeth Robinson, Agnes Moreland Jackson, Sue E. Houchins, Deborah Santana (who set me straight on my working title “Sunshine Gulag” and suggested “Golden,” lest anyone think the book was about Florida), and, more than anyone, A. Sivanandan and Stu- art Hall indelibly influenced how I think: each fiercely demon- strates how learning well is a generous art.
During graduate school, we students—Laura Liu, Rachel Herzing, John Antranig Kasbarian, Curtis Frietag, Melina Pat- terson, Lisa Lynch, Alex Weheliye (who made me think about land!), Yong-Sook Lee, Marlen Llanes, Nicole Cousino, and Ralph Saunders—formed communities of purpose that still bind us in our commitment to live the change.
I’d never have spent a minute, much less six years, at Berke- ley were it not for the interventions, encouragement, friendship, and mentoring of Dick Walker, Gill Hart, and Carol Stack. I also
A C K N O W L E D G M E N TS x v
had the fortune to share work-in-progress with amazing col- leagues—Jean Lave, Pedro Noguera, Dan Perlstein, Barrie Thorne, Harley Shaiken, Allan Pred, Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Elaine Kim, Michael Omi, Pat Hilden, José David Saldívar, Jeff Romm, John Hurst, Caren Kaplan, and my dearest Cal pal Kurt Cuffey. Delores Dillard, Jahleezah Eskew, Nat Vonnegut, Carol Page, and Dan Plumlee made life easy for the bureaucratically challenged and, along with Don Bain and Darin Jensen, prove that staff are the backbone and conscience of academia.
The students of Carceral Geographies at Berkeley dutifully studied the manuscript and, integrating their readings with am- bitious fieldwork, concluded every fall semester with group re- search projects full of excellent evidence and surprising insights.
The embarrassment of riches of wonderful Berkeley graduate students who inspired and challenged me around many a semi- nar table include Clem Lai, Dylan Rodriguez, Frank Wilderson, Micia Mosely, Judith Kaf ka, Sora Han, Sara Clarke Kaplan, Mark Hunter, Priya Kandaswamy, Nari Rhee, Jenna Loyd, Ethan Johnson, Chris Neidt, Wendy Cheng, Kysa Nygreen, Juan DeLara, Judy Han, Trevor Paglen, Jen Casolo, Brinda Sarathy, Joe Bryan, Sylvia Chan, Amanda LaShaw, Kiko Casique, and Kirstie Dorr.
With patience, brilliance, and skill, four research assistants— Nari Rhee, Dana Kaplan, Ari Wohlfeiler, Pete Spannagle— moved the work forward.
Many exemplary people made research possible, especially the research librarians at Alexander Library at Rutgers and the Uni- versity Research Library at UCLA. Two print journalists, Dan Morain of the Los Angeles Times, and Jeannette Todd of the Cor- coran Journal, gave me time and insights; Morain’s exemplary
x v i A C K N O W L E D G M E N TS
work on California prisons is a starting point for any serious stu- dent of the subject, as is the investigative reporting by Mark Arax and Mark Gladstone. Public servants Don Pauley of Corcoran, Melissa Harriman of Avenal, Ed Tewes of Modesto, and Bernie Orozco of the now defunct Joint Legislative Committee on Prison Construction and Operation provided crucial guidance without hesitation. Paula Burbach at the California Department of Corrections cheerfully responded to inquiries.
Some of the research for this book received support from a Center for the Critical Analysis of Contemporary Culture grad- uate fellowship; a Ford dissertation fellowship; a University of California at Berkeley chancellor’s postdoctoral fellowship; and fellowships from the University of California Humanities Re- search Institute and the Open Society Institute.
At the University of California Humanities Research Insti- tute, Angela Y. Davis, Gina Dent, David Theo Goldberg, Sandra Baringer, Nancy Scheper-Hughes, and Avery Gordon engaged in spirited collaborative study and fieldwork; we have a book to make from that experience.
American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California is a dream job. I am especially grateful to George Sánchez, Laura Pulido, and Fred Moten for friendship and men- toring, to all my colleagues for their trust, and to Sonia Rod- riguez, Kitty Lai, and Sandra Jones—along with Billie Shotlow and Onita Morgan-Edwards in Geography—for their skillful and good-humored staffing.
I’ve shared parts of this work with many scholars whose sharp insights rapidly improved my thinking, thanks to the support of sponsoring institutions: the National University of Singapore, University of Washington, University of Chicago, the University
A C K N O W L E D G M E N TS x v i i
of Texas at Austin, Johns Hopkins, the Claremont Colleges, Scripps College, Queens University (CAN), UC Irvine, the Soci- ety for Cultural Anthropology, University of Wisconsin, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the Social Science Re- search Council, New York University, City University of New York, UCLA, the Brecht Forum, Brown, and Yale.
And then there’s the generosity of activists—a constant caring regard for doing things both right and well. The principal orga- nizations I work in and depend on are the California Prison Moratorium Project, Critical Resistance, and the Central Cali- fornia Environmental Justice Network. In these and other groups, many thanks to Tom Quinn, Catherine Campbell, the late Holbrook Teter, Michelle Foy, Sarah Jarmon, Ellen Barry, Bo Brown, Karen Shain, Peter Wagner, Brigette Sarabi, Tracy Huling, Kevin Pranis, Dorsey Nunn, Eddie Ellis, Naomi Swin- ton, Joe Kaye, Ajulo Othow, Naneen Karraker, Laura Magnani, Jason Ziedenberg, Deborah Peterson Small, Jonathan Wilson, Lois Ahrens, John Mataka, Rosenda Mataka, Sandra Meraz, Yedithza Vianey Nuñez, Joe Morales, Luke Cole, Bradley Angel, Jason Glick, Amy Vanderwarker, Lani Riccobuono, Deb- bie Reyes, Leonel Flores, Dana Kaplan, Ari Wohlfeiler, Rachel Herzing, and the activist’s activist Rose Braz.
At the University of California Press, Linda Norton and Monica McCormick did everything possible to move this book into print . . . and Niels Hooper did the impossible. Suzanne Knott and Peter Dreyer are patient and thorough editors who taught me a lot about writing to be read.
My brothers, Courtland, Peter, and Jon, and their families, have waited impatiently, as have my friends who are so close as to be fictive kin: Howard Singerman, Janet Ray, Brackette
x v i i i A C K N O W L E D G M E N TS
Williams, Allen Feldman, Barbara Harlow, Sid Lemelle, Salima Lemelle, Salim Lemelle, the late and always missed Glen Thompson, Rachel Herzing, Avery Gordon, Chris Newfield, Laura Liu, Clyde Woods, Mike Murashige, Laura Pulido, Julia Gonzales, Annie Blum, and Rose Braz helped me develop my ca- pacities, while demanding, singly and in chorus: “Write it down! Send it in!”
My great regret is that my late father, Courtland Seymour Wilson, tireless activist, self-educated working-class intellectual, honest man, won’t have this book on his towering stack of things to read next; he and my beautiful mother, Ruth Isabel Herb Wil- son, sent me out young to do antiracist work, let me be a reader and dreamer, and always welcomed their prodigal daughter home. Finally, my husband and best friend, Craig Gilmore, should be listed as co-author of this book; so much of the think- ing, and more than half the suffering of it, was his.
A C K N O W L E D G M E N TS x i x
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AICCU Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities
BJS Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics BPP Black Panther Party BRC California Blue Ribbon Commission on Inmate
Population and Management CCPOA California Correctional Peace Officers Associ-
ation CDC California Department of Corrections CDF California Department of Finance CDF-CEI California Department of Finance, California
Economic Indicators CEZ California enterprise zone CO corrections officer; prison guard DOD Department of Defense EDD California Employment Development Depart-
ment ERC Equal Rights Congress
x x i
FACTS Families to Amend California’s Three Strikes FIRE finance, insurance, and real estate sector GOB general obligation bond GSP gross state product JfJ Justice for Janitors JLCPCO Joint Legislative Committee on Prison Con-
struction and Operations LAO California Legislative Analyst’s Office LAPD Los Angeles Police Department LRB lease revenue bond LULUs locally unwanted land uses MAPA Mexican American Political Alliance Mothers ROC Mothers Reclaiming Our Children NAIRU non-accelerating-inflation rate of unemploy-
ment NIMBY not in my back yard PIA [California] Prison Industry Authority PRCC [California] Prison Reform Conference Com-
mittee ROC Mothers Reclaiming Our Children SPWB California State Public Works Board UFW United Farm Workers
x x i i A B B R E V I AT I O N S
O ne midnight in the middle of April, late in the twentieth century, a bus pulled out of the Holman Methodist Church parking lot. Traveling a short way along the northern boundary of South Central Los Angeles, it geared up a ramp into the web of state and federal highways that con-
nect California’s diverse industrial, agricultural, and recreational landscapes into the fifth-largest economy in the world. On the bus, forty women, men, and children settled in for the seven-hour journey north to Sacramento and the state capitol.
A dream crowd rode for freedom: red, black, brown, yellow, and white; mothers, fathers, grandparents, sisters, brothers, chil- dren, lovers, and friends; gay men and lesbians; interracial fam- ilies; English, Spanish, Tagalog, Arabic, Polish, and Hebrew speakers; Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Muslim, Eastern Orthodox, and Quaker. Their diversity embodied some 150 years of Cali- fornia history and more than 300 years of national anxieties and antagonisms. But the riders didn’t worry about it; they got on the
bus because of their sameness: employed, disabled, or retired working people, with little or no discretionary income, whose goal was freedom for their relatives serving long sentences be- hind bars.
The dream riders were summoned by a nightmare, made pal- pable by the terrifying numbers of prisoners and prisons pro- duced during the past generation, while we were all, presumably, awake. Just as real was the growing grassroots activism against the expanded use of criminalization and cages as catchall solu- tions to social problems.
In order to realize their dream of justice in individual cases, the riders decided, through struggle, debate, failure, and re- newal, that they must seek general freedom for all from a system in which punishment has become as industrialized as making cars, clothes, or missiles, or growing cotton. Against the odds, they had come to activism—acting out, in the details of modest practices, the belief that “we shall overcome” the deep divisions so taken for granted in apartheid America. In other words, they shared more than an interest: purpose made them ride.
Some snoozed. Some played cards. Some talked about who would join them on the statehouse steps, who would sit with them in the Senate Committee on Public Safety hearing room, and what best strategy would persuade a prisoner-hostile leg- islative committee majority to amend California’s “three strikes and you’re out” law. Some watched through the window, with an intensity suggesting that the night might reveal an answer. In- stead, what they saw were landscapes of labor, living, and leisure stretching out beyond the horizon. Leaving Los Angeles, the bus traveled up the broad old industrial corridor’s central artery. Al- though the city is still the manufacturing capital of the United
2 P R O LO G U E
States, the mix and remuneration of jobs making things has changed drastically in the past twenty years. Auto and primary steel are mostly gone, replaced by apparel and rebar.
On Interstate 5, the great road over the Tehachapi Mountains, the bus passed endless residential developments and signs tout- ing “business friendly” regions in the northern reaches of Los Angeles County before slipping into the darkness of the Angeles National Forest. The federal interstates enabled suburbanization of both residence and industry and helped secure California’s his- torical dominance in the military-industrial complex. Indeed, for most of the families on the bus, overt wars—World War II, Korea, and Vietnam—and covert struggles—Jim Crow Missis- sippi and Louisiana—were the forces that had pushed and pulled them to Southern California to remake their lives, as long-distance migrants must.
Rolling down the long grade into the Great Central Valley, some of the riders speculated about the gargantuan pumping sta- tions that propel water gathered from the state’s northern and east- ern regions over the mountains to quench the Southland’s thirst. And yet although the water courses up out of the valley, a lot re- mains to irrigate the state’s agricultural immensity. Indeed, while agriculture is only 3 percent of gross state product (GSP), Califor- nia ranks first in the United States in agricultural production.
They stopped in Bakersfield to pick up more people: a farm- worker, an unemployed journalist, some prisoners’ mothers tak- ing an unpaid day off work and contributing from their slim wages toward the $1,000 charter cost.
Outside Bakersfield, darkness drew in again around the Thomas-built coach. A small group of riders, sitting in the back, started to count sightings of intensely golden glows that eerily
T H E B U S 3
poked depth into the flat blackness. These concentrations of light in farmland are many of California’s new prisons: cities of men, and sometimes women, that lie next to the dim towns that host them. Some passengers whispered, their words recorded as breath on glass: “Donny’s over there.” “Hello Richard.” “I won- der if Angel’s sleeping. I told him we’d pass by.” The small fogs cleared as the bus labored on.
Other buses make this journey every day from central Los An- geles, leaving not from churches but rather from courts and jails. Their destinations are the old or new prisons—those that cluster along Highway 99 and make it a prison alley and others further afield, from the sturdy perimeter of fortresses along the California-Mexico border in the south up into Indian country at Susanville and Crescent City at the Oregon line. Nine hundred miles of prisons: an archipelago of concrete and steel cages, thirty- three major prisons (see map on page 10) plus fifty-seven smaller prisons and camps, forty-three of the total built since 1984.
Arriving in Sacramento, the riders joined their allies from other parts of the state for a prayer breakfast and a rally on the capitol steps. Then the day’s principal activity began: the long committee session. They would try again to persuade people eager for reelection, who review and approve new criminal laws three hours a week, every week, to undo part of one law even while a major campaign contributor, the prison guards’ union, summoned its lobbyist brigades to denounce any reform. For a moment before the group moved indoors, the ordinarily gray- white state buildings yellowed to reflect the warming sunrise—a sensation welcomed by a few aching elderly passengers, always alert for signs for hope. Perhaps on this trip they might knock one block out of the Golden Gulag’s miles and miles of prison walls.
4 P R O LO G U E
T his book is about the phenomenal growth of California’s state prison system since 1982 and grassroots opposition to the expanding use of prisons as catchall solutions to social problems. It asks how, why, where, and to what effect one of the planet’s richest and most diverse political economies
has organized and executed a prison-building and -filling plan that government analysts have called “the biggest . . . in the his- tory of the world” (Rudman and Berthelsen 1991: i). By provid- ing answers to these questions, the book also charts changes in state structure, local and regional economies, and social identi- ties. Golden Gulag is a tale of fractured collectivities—economies, governments, cities, communities, and households—and their fitful attempts to reconstruct themselves.
The book began as two modest research projects undertaken in Los Angeles in 1992 and 1994 on behalf of a group of mostly African American mothers, many of whom later rode the bus de- picted in the Prologue. All wished to understand both the letter
6 I N T R O D U C T I O N
and intent of two California laws—the Street Terrorism En- forcement and Prevention (STEP) Act (1988) and Proposition 184, the “three strikes and you’re out” law (1994). They asked me, a nonlawyer activist with research skills, access to university libraries, and a big vocabulary, to help them. The oral reports and written summaries I presented at Saturday workshops failed to produce what we hoped for: clues as to how individual defen- dants might achieve better outcomes in their cases. Rather, what we learned twice over was this: the laws had written into the penal code breathtakingly cruel twists in the meaning and prac- tice of justice.
Why should such discoveries surprise people for whom racism and economic struggle are persistent, life-shortening as- pects of everyday experience? Perhaps because, for an increasing number of people, by the early 1990s, everyday experience had come to include familiarity with the routines of police, arrests, lawyers, plea bargains, and trials. The repertoire of the criminal courts seemed to be consistent if consistently unfair, with every- one playing rather predictable roles and the devil (or acquittal) in the details. But instead of showing how to become more detail- savvy about a couple of laws, our group study shifted our per- spective by forcing us to ask general—and therefore, to our gen- eral frustration, more abstract—questions: Why prisons? Why now? Why for so many people—especially people of color? And why were they located so far from prisoners’ homes?
The complex inquiry we inadvertently set for ourselves even- tually defined the scope of this book, whose tale unfolds four times: statewide; at the capitol; in rural Corcoran; and in South Central Los Angeles. Working through California’s prison devel- opment from these various “cuts” will uncover the dynamics of
I N T R O D U C T I O N 7
the social and spatial intersections where expansion emerged. There’s a political reason for doing things this way. It is not only a good theory in theory but also a good theory in practice for people engaged in the spectrum of social justice struggles to figure out unexpected sites where their agendas align with those of others. We can do this by seeing how general changes connect with con- crete experiences—as the mothers did in our study groups.
The California state prisoner population grew nearly 500 percent between 1982 and 2000, even though the crime rate peaked in 1980 and declined, unevenly but decisively, thereafter (see figs. 1 and 2). African Americans and Latinos comprise two-thirds of the state’s 160,000 prisoners; almost 7 percent are women of all races; 25 percent are noncitizens. Most prisoners come from the state’s urban cores—particularly Los Angeles and the surround- ing southern counties. More than half the prisoners had steady employment before arrest, while upwards of 80 percent were, at some time in their case, represented by state-appointed lawyers for the indigent. In short, as a class, convicts are deindustrialized cities’ working or workless poor.
Since 1984, California has completed twenty-three major new prisons (see map), at a cost of $280–$350 million dollars apiece. The state had previously built only twelve prisons between 1852 and 1964. The gargantuan new poured-concrete structures loom at the edge of small, economically struggling, ethnically diverse towns in rural areas. California has also added, in similar loca- tions, thirteen small (500-bed) community corrections facilities, five prison camps, and five mother-prisoner centers to its pre-1984 inventory. By 2005, a hotly contested twenty-fourth new prison, designed to cage 5,160 men will, if opened, bring the total num-
8 I N T R O D U C T I O N
FIGURE 1. California crime index by category, 1952–1995. Source: Cali- fornia Department of Justice, Criminal Justice Information Services Division.
ber of state lockups for adult men and women to ninety.1 With the exception of a few privately managed 500-bed facilities, these pris- ons are wholly public: owned by the state of California, financed by Public Works Board debt, and operated by the California De- partment of Corrections. The state’s general fund provides 100 percent of the entire prison system’s annual costs. Expenses spiked from 2 percent of the general fund in 1982 to nearly 8 percent
Crime index, revised formula Crime index, original formula Property crimes, revised formula Property crimes, original formula Violent crimes
52 54 56 58 60 62 64 66 68 70 72 74 76 Year
78 80 82 84 86 88 90 92 94 96 98 00
FIGURE 2. Revised California crime index, 1952–2000. Source: Califor- nia Department of Justice, Criminal Justice Information Services Divi- sion. Note: Throughout its development, this book used the nationally accepted method for measuring crime, as illustrat
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