Prisoners as Capital and Persons as Property
From Jeff Layne
Faculty, Political Science Department, CSU, Chico
Dr. Kate Transchel
Faculty, History Department, CSU, Chico
These presentations could be subtitled, “look beneath the surface.” Dr. Michael Coyle advocates looking more closely at the prison system in order to find alternatives to it, while Dr. Kate Transchel explains how human trafficking is going on everywhere – we just need to educate ourselves to be able to see it. Each speaker ends with suggestions for what the audience can do to take action.
Dr. Coyle has been studying penal abolition – that is, the eventual abolition of the current prison system. He states that the “criminal justice” system is not working, is not “justice,” and is detrimental to society. Dr. Coyle also steps back and looks at how people don’t tend to question what other people do to produce the food and other commodities they use every day. He gives examples of this, and then encourages the audience to look more closely at the prison system.
Dr. Transchel is working to educate people to realize that slavery is not a thing of the past; there are an estimated 30 million slaves world-wide, including 200,000 to 300,000 in the United States. She places the reality of sex trafficking in the context of societal attitudes, such as how sexualized images of children and the objectification and commodification of women play into sex trafficking. She also touches on other types of slavery: labor exploitation, begging, body parts, babies for adoption, and child soldiers.
Recorded: September 15, 2015