Politiche del diritto, povertà e prigioni negli Stati Uniti d’America oggi

Elisabetta Grande


What is the purpose of prison in the United States today? It is about locking up the poor, as never happened before. That poor people abound in prisons is not a novelty of course. Anytime and everywhere, it is the poor who have been incarcerated. Yet today, in the United States of America, incarcerating them acquires the meaning of an end in itself. Poor people, who in a corporate capitalistic society are not profitable enough as free men and women, become profitable whenever incarcerated since they are transformed into forced consumers. It is not anymore about educating them to sell their labor power as it was in the nineteen century. Nor is it about making legal an otherwise declared illegal black slavery, as it happened after the U.S. civil war. It is instead about extracting profit from their very incarceration. Thus in the U.S. today, on the one hand the legal system produces the growth of extreme poverty, allowing the rich to become even richer by stealing from their weakest fellow. On the other hand, it incarcerates the poor in mass, allowing the rich to profit even more from them. In the era of corporate sovereignty therefore, when the force of the law turns into the law of the strongest, the endless circle of growing inequality converts poor people in perfect bodies to incarcerate for the sake of the rich. How this happens, i.e. how the legal system engenders the incarceration of the poor, it is the aim of this essay to investigate and explain.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13136/2281-4582/2019.i14.315


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