Budget cuts liquidate social security programs, retirement and education, and therefore the future, while stuffing humans into overcrowded prisons and juvenile detention facilities. There’s no jobs, no money, but crime is captured by capital too. The black market is still the market, and beyond that there is an economy of incarceration complete with banks building private prisons and corporations leasing the labor of their captives. Forced into the drug trade and sex work, criminalized, incarcerated, then forced into both sex (rape) and work (slavery) in the penitentiary. This is what we mean when we say “the prison industrial complex.” It extends outside the wretched walls of San Quentin and the others into every part of life in a racist and patriarchal commodity society. All prisoners are political prisoners. And as feminists have long pointed out, the personal is political.
The spheres of our oppression grow indistinct.
Home is prison, prison is the Third World factory. Boyfriends are bosses, wardens are pimps. Capitalist and patriarchal social relations flow effortlessly across the boundaries between the “inside” and the “outside.” Our solidarity and struggle must also flow easily past barbed wire, to destroy capitalism and patriarchy we must destroy all prisons and the police. Free all prisoners! Destroy capital! Smash patriarchy!
It is impossible to quantify a unified experience of how trans people, gender queers, queers, and women live in relation to the prison industrial complex. However, we found these statistics gravely moving and feel that these facts illuminate the connections between capitals grotesque maintenance of oppression grounded in gender, race and class to the prison industrial complex.
- Nearly two-thirds of women in prison are mothers.
- In federal women’s prisons 70% of guards are male.
- Sexual assault within the confines of prison walls are often perpetrated by prison guards.
- In many states guards have access to and are encouraged to review the inmates’ personal history files. Guards threaten the prisoner’s children and rights as a means of silencing the women.
- Over a five-year period, the incarceration rate of African American women increased by 828%. Black women make up nearly half of the nation’s female prison population.
- The female prison population grew by 832% from 1977 to 2007. The male prison population grew 416% during the same time period.4
- Latina women experience nearly four times the rates of incarceration as white women.
- Average prostitution arrests include 70% females, 20% percent male prostitutes and 10% customers.
- In San Francisco, it has been estimated that 25% of the female prostitutes are transgender
- 60% of the abuse against street prostitutes perpetrated by 60% clients, 20% by police and 20% in domestic relationships.
- A company that operated a maquiladora (assembly plant in Mexico near the border) closed down its operations there and relocated to San Quentin State Prison in California.
- Jurors in the US were polled as to what factors would make them most biased against a defendant, and perceived sexual orientation was chosen as the most likely personal characteristic to bias a juror against a defendant.
sanquentin – pdf