In 2008, Monroe County moved to build a new, expanded jail -framed as a “justice campus” using humanitarian rhetoric. In response, a diverse group of local residents founded an organization called Decarcerate Monroe County (DMC).
Judah Schept, who returns as our guest alongside Micol Seigel, was an organizer in the successful DMC campaign to block jail expansion here, as well as a profound critic of what his book terms “progressive punishment,” in which humanist rationales are used to justify state violence and the expansion of caging. This discourse has reappeared locally with Monroe County’s renewed drive to build new jail facilities on alleged human rights grounds. It is also a strategic feature of many prison and policing projects across the country right now in the wake of last year’s George Floyd Uprising.
This week, they continue to discuss the proposed jail expansion and discuss the pros and cons of common alternatives to incarceration. They compare the jail expansion they fought 12 years ago to the jail expansion Monroe County now has on the table. They discuss various “intercepts”- moments that are supposed to come in between a person and incarceration.
Perilous is a project supported by a network of people who seek to gather and track information on prison uprisings, riots, protests, strikes, and other disturbances within public and private jails, prisons, and detention centers in the US and Canada since 2010. You can find out more about their work on their website: https://perilouschronicle.com/