Wednesday, February 17, 2021

"Just Let People Have Cellphones in Prison"

 That's the title of this great piece by Hannah Riley at Slate.  And of course we should let folks have their phones, especially during the pandemic lockdown in prisons where they can't leave their rooms for most of the day.  From the conclusion (and I recommend checking out prison TikTok):

It’s not all grim, though. A scroll through prison TikTok will reveal everything from how to MacGyver loose electrical wires to boil water to recipes for “prison pizza”—and then there are, of course, the TikTok dances. People are risking retaliation to show that they too have joy, in the midst of darkness.

The desire to punish is a deeply human one, but we should know by now that policies based on revenge never end well, especially when we know that those policies actually result in more harm. Access to cellphones—that is, access to love, connection, transparency, and a window to the outside world—is one simple but vital step to reduce those harms. Those who believe incarceration should be maximally harsh and devoid of joy or connection must reckon with reality: The more we isolate and torture people in cages, the less safe we all become.


No comments: