Bipartisan Unity on Mass Incarceration: Opportunity or Sidetrack for Movement Building?

July 13, 2015

"Mass incarceration continues to trend. As Heather Thompson, professor of history at the University of Michigan and leading scholar on the Attica prison rebellion, told Truthout, 'Three years ago to talk about incarceration was like you were talking Latin.' No more.
For those who have been decrying US incarceration rates and exposing the prison industrial complex for decades, the new terrain is simultaneously promising, challenging and confusing. Bob Libal, head of Grassroots Leadership in Texas and a long-time opponent of private prisons, calls it a 'window of opportunity.' Marc Mauer, director of the prominent progressive think tank The Sentencing Project, told Truthout there is 'room to work together without having to give up core beliefs,' noting that 'we may part ways [with conservatives] down the road.' By contrast, Naomi Murakawa, author of The First Civil Right, which chronicles the leading role played by Democrats in prison expansion, said she expects 'little or no break' in the mindset and practice of 'hunting and caging' people."