Notes: Prisons of Poverty

Wacuqant, Prisons of Poverty (2009):

“Security” the removal/deportation of contagion:

“We are indeed dealing here with what is first and foremost a confinement of differentiation or segregation, aiming to keep an undesirable category separate and to facilitate its subtraction from the societal body (it results more and more frequently in deportation and banishment from the national territory), as distinct from ‘confinement of authority’ and ‘confinement of safety.'” (96)

Immigrant detention:

“To the foreigners and quasi foreigners consigned to jails and prisons, often in tiers segregated according to ethnonational origin (as at the jail of Sa Sante, in the heart of Paris, where inmates are distributed into four separate and hostile wards, ‘white,’ ‘African,’ ‘Arab,’ and ‘rest of the world’), one must add the thousands of migrants without papers or awaiting deportation, especially by virtue of ‘double sentencing,’ arbitrarily held in those state-sponsored enclaves of juridical limbo, the ‘waiting areas’ and ‘retention centers’ that have mushroomed over the past decade throughout the European Union.” (96)

Economics of imprisonment enforcing workforce control:

“. . . the stupendous increase in the population under lock artificially reduces the unemployment rate in the short fun by making a significant volume of potential job seekers vanish from the labor-force statistics. But, over the medium and long run, it can only worsen the jobless rate by making those who have sojourned behind bars harder to employ–nay, unemployable in a deskilled labor market that is already overcrowded. One must add to this labor-market impact the destabilizing effects of incarceration on the populations and places most directly put under penal tutelage: the stigmatization and the sense of indignity it carries; the interruption of educational, marital, and occupational trajectories; the destabilization of families and the amputation of social networks; the crystallization of a ‘culture of resistance’ and even defiance of authority in the dispossessed districts where imprisonment is becoming a routine occurrence, even a normal stage in the life course of lower-class young men; and the whole train of pathologies, suffering, and (inter)personal violence commonly associated with passage through the carceral institution” (124)