On Tuesday, December 11, host Aaron Perry speaks with Professor Beth Richie, author of Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation. Beth Richie is a professor at University of Illinois at Chicago and Director of a research institute that looks at race and public policy. She has also been an activist in the anti-violence movement, and has been conducting research on the prison industrial complex.
She speaks about the situation, “The prison industrial complex and all of its apparatus has really targeted black men. So we know that, and not that we’re not interested in that, but there’s an untold story about the ways that the prison nation – the law enforcement, the court system, the way jails and prisons are run – those same factors disproportionately affect black women, and it rubs right up against the ways black women experience domestic and sexual violence. So the book is really about making sure that in our work and our attention to the problem of mass incarceration and its impact on black communities, we don’t forget the sisters in that struggle.”
Beth explains that in addition to the way mass incarceration has a profound impact on the black community, it poses as especially difficult for the women. “We are additionally vulnerable to excessive violence from police officers, we experience domestic violence, and we sometimes don’t call the police because we don’t want to turn our men over to the criminal legal system. We are experiencing sexual assault at profound rates in our community, but we don’t talk about that because of the shame associated with sexual violence and because we don’t want to feed that larger narrative about black men as rapists.”
She wants readers to consider possible alternatives to prison incarceration, for people who have human, social, or medical needs. “If we put a few mental health clinics, a couple of health care facilities, a day care center, all of that would cost so much less than incarcerating people, and we’d be a stronger society because our communities would be healthy.”
Read more about Arrested Justice on Facebook
Listen to the interview here: