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Owl's picture

Funding for Literacy

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In chapter two of Reading is my Window, Sweeney states: “In Ohio Prisons, the general libraries are funded entirely by revenue from each prison’s vending machines and commissary...” (57). The lack of funding for prison libraries is extremely outrageous, but what is even more outrageous is how much of the funding, going into prison programs that help alleviate recidivism. is “entirely” dependent on the prisoners themselves who have little to no resources and/or opportunities to earn wages. How can we expect  prison libraries to have good reading material, or any at all, if the monetary resources are not available?

Sasha De La Cruz's picture

Voice Paper #2

The images that really caught my attention were jo’s and sdane’s images that compare meals between public schools and prisons. When I was in high school, I had heard a rumor, or what I thought to be a rumor, stating that the same company that distributed our school lunch was the same who distributed lunch to prisons. After all the readings we have been doing and seeing these images, I am appalled at the reality of these connections. The reason why these images hit so close to home is because these look exactly like the lunch I was receiving. I was eligible for free lunch but I honestly feel as if it was a waste of an opportunity that was given to me specifically, I barely went to lunch – in fact I can count the times I have gone into the cafeteria all four years of high school.


Erin's picture

Blurry boundary but clear difference

I was surprised when my peers got confused about my pictures of prison and school. Immediately, I realized that the longer I looked at these two postings, the more they looked alike. I was absolutely shocked by such an observation because school and prison really should not be equal in any senses.

Honestly, I have my assumptions and impressions about prison. I believe that prison exists for a reason. No matter how problematic the prison system is becoming, prison primarily serves to be the correction facility for people who made mistakes under justice system. People are sent to prison for something that they did wrong in most cases today.

On the other hand, in most people’s mind including mine, school ought to be a divine place. Ironically, the administrations and certain policies are compromising the purity of this place. However, no one can deny the paramount role that school and education play in any individual’s growth and success. 

How did such two distinctive places get mixed? I will start my conversation from the two pictures: my high school gate which really looks like locked-down place from outside and women prisoners sitting together who look like typical Chinese students are studying. These two pictures together showed two places strangely but interestingly intertwine.

jo's picture

Schools, Prisons, and the War on Drugs in “Third-World USA” (VOICE PAPER #2)

My trip to see mountaintop removal coal mining in southern West Virginia gave me a new perspective of the connection between schools and prisons that parallels discussions we've had in class about the war on drugs and over-surveillance, and the ways in which public schools set certain students up for failure and oppression by the system. I hadn't expected to see such a connection, as I, like many, have a tendency to forget that all issues of oppression are inherently connected and stem from upper-class white male control as it dominates society; to see that the schools are about as confining and the war on drugs about as harsh in these poor, white, rural Appalachian communities as they are in the poverty-ridden, predominately black inner cities. In looking at the various images we all posted last week, HSBurke’s pictures particularly hit me, one of a man standing against the bars of his prison cell, the other of a little boy standing similarly against the bars of the school yard fence. Both people were white, which really made me think of how the over-surveillance in “third world USA” (WV) is less an issue of race than class.

Michaela's picture

School Rules?

I have to confess that I am a little bit of a goody two shoes. I have been for most of my life, and my efforts to color within the lines have been rewarded, encouraging me to stay on the straight and narrow. I didn’t cut class, I never forgot my homework, I kept my room clean, and I cried my way out of detention the only time it was ever threatened (for tardiness). And, as a result, I got good grades, kept my parents’ respect, and was regarded by my teachers and peers as an overall good kid. I’ve mostly continued this streak into college. (I worry that it means I’m that kid that I’m writing this on Monday afternoon for a Wednesday due date, so, in that case, I apologize.) I do deviate in some of the socially acceptable college student ways, and enjoy my independence, but I still pride myself on being conscientious. Looking at HSBurke’s photo of the little boy standing behind the bars of his school, I could all too easily see that, through the kind of schooling that is reflected by the T chart, he could in 20 years be the grown man, locked behind the bars of a prison. All this makes me wonder how much of who we are as children, shaped by the environment around us, will be what we become as adults. And, if so, what role do our schools, which appear not dissimilar to correctional facilities, play in creating what brands us as “good” or “bad” people?

Uninhibited's picture

Setting the Expectation for Deviance: School Policies and Urban Youth

Setting the Expectation for Deviance: School Policies and Urban Youth

With the number of incarcerated people on the rise, economic advantages to building prisons, and incentives for law enforcement to get “tough on crime” it seems that more states are focused on increasing their prison population than their student populations.  As state budges cut their funding for schools and increase their funding to build new prisons, the message is clear: there is an expectation that the prison population will continue to grow rapidly. How are schools being part of this expectation of the growth of the prison population? According to Erica Meiners, the school-to-prison pipeline is an issue that is plaguing urban public schools, as school-based-disciplinary policies are preparing poor urban students to enter the prison system. School policies such as suspensions, dress codes, and the use of metal detectors are making schools look more like prisons and students look more like prisoners. How are these school policies setting the expectation for urban youth of color to break school policies instead of thrive in schools?  How are these policies made visible to the students, families, and communities that are being targeted?

ishin's picture

Voice Paper II: recreating the prison space

When looking through the pictures together, one of the main themes we’ve noticed is the similarity between the physical spaces of prisons and schools.  This is apparent when we compare Erin’s photos of her school to Chinese prisons, Johannah’s images of a school cafeteria space to a prison block, and the photos of Overbrook high school as well.  To be sure, the feelings and connotations associated with these spaces are far from what we can call comfortable, positive, or perhaps even palpable.  This is evident in their harsh fluorescent lights, the cramped living spaces, the bare, white washed walls, and more generally, the stark, unfriendly nature of these buildings.  In other words, these places are designed to evoke bad feelings.

Because of this, I start to get a little worried about how people might approach the solving this problem. More specifically, I’m worried that people might think it’s appropriate to believe that the structure of these spaces are inherently evil and, by extension, believe that these spaces must be completely abandoned in order to address problems within these two institutional spaces.  The reason why I worry is because I don’t believe a complete rejection of these institutional buildings and is necessarily fruitful, or even possible.

couldntthinkofanoriginalname's picture

Isn't it Ironic? (Voice Paper II)

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