Reading Questions, Prison By Any Other Name Chapters 1-4 Big Questions for the Whole Book 1. On p. 89, Schenwar and Law discuss how Europe and the US have comparable crime rates, but the US probation rate outpaces Europe’s by over 400%. Similarly, the US has a drastically higher rate of imprisonment and immigration detention than European countries. The US also has a much starker concentration of wealth than European countries. How are those things related? What might be the causes and impacts of the range of US policies that produce so much criminalization and poverty? What kinds of policies are likely to be contributing to different outcomes in Europe? 2. The authors cite James Kilgore (p. 49) raising concerns about “the punishment paradigm.” The criminal legal system is often justified with reference to “punishment,” “accountability,” and “rehabilitation.” What is the difference between punishment and accountability for causing harm? What is the difference between punishment and rehabilitation? How is punishment racially targeted in our system? What does the information in this book make you think about who is being punished, who is being held accountable for what, who needs rehabilitation, who gets rehabilitation, and what rehabilitation actually is? How would you map out these concepts and their relationship to the criminal legal system? How would you map out how these concepts are unevenly applied with respect to race, ability, gender, sexuality, and class? 3. Throughout the book, we see the ways in which various mandated programs and treatments in the criminal legal system control, surveil, belittle, isolate, humiliate, and degrade people subject to them. Many of these programs do so in the name of fixing or rehabilitating people subject to them. Some people have compared the system to an abuser, noting that these same behaviors are common to abuse dynamics in families and between intimate partners. The majority of people subject to these programs are abuse survivors. What does this mean for the possibilities for healing and repair for people in the system and for anyone who has been impacted by their actions, if they have done harm in the past? 4. In several instances in the book, the authors discuss how when “softer” programs are added, such as drug courts, electronic home monitoring, and prostitution “diversion” programs, police become more likely to arrest people for the kinds of behaviors such programs address, attorneys encourage people to take plea deals leading to enrollment, and judges become more willing to criminalize people who will serve time in these programs. What examples of this did you see in the book? What does this mean about reforms that offer purportedly softer punishments? 5. Many programs and services that operate as “alternatives” studied by Schenwar and Law exclude criminalized people if they have been charged with or convicted of a “violent” crime. What do you think about this? How might this have impacts that increase incarceration of targeted populations? Chapter 1, “Your Home Is Your Prison” 1. Why do Schenwar and Law think that replacing incarceration with electronic monitoring is a bad idea? Is electronic monitoring a “softer” way of punishing people? What do they mean when they say that introducing such alternatives is “net widening”? 2. On p. 29, Schenwar and Law describe how, in response to a 2011 Supreme Court case finding that California’s prison overcrowding violated the Eighth Amendment and ordering that the prison population be drastically reduced, the state created a “realignment” scheme. This plan pushed incarcerated people from state to county control, which resulted in increased used of electronic monitoring. What are the authors’ concerns with this development? What might this suggest about the limits of prison reform litigation for reducing the harms of the criminal legal system? 3. What are the authors’ concerns with the much lauded federal First Step Act? P. 30. How does their critique of the First Step Act exemplify the broad argument this book makes about reform? 4. On p. 30, the authors describe how in Chicago, “a strong grassroots campaign against money bail and pretrial incarceration” led to a reduced jail population. What does a campaign like that look like? How do grassroots activists put pressure on the criminal legal system to shrink? Are there other examples you have seen of such work? 5. Why does it matter that Rudy Giuliani proposed that all Muslims

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