Davis,A. (2003). Areprisons obsolete?(pp. 84 – 104). New York: Seven Stories Press.


Thepurpose of Angela Davis’s article is to draw attention to theimportance of abolishing prisons. Davis studies and critiques theAmerican corrective system, bringing the reader’s attention to theprison system, which seems to be more problematic than beneficial.Davis’s article develops a new approach to perceiving the prisonsystem: replacing the entire system with structures that are morepositive, for example, health care, job training, schools, andrecreation programs (Davis, 2003, p. 85).

Davisbrings to bear the assertion that society has imposed on people: theworld cannot exist without prisons. This claim has made the massesassume that the world cannot function if wrongdoers are not separatedfrom the community. To oppose this viewpoint, Davis investigates thesocial, historical, racial, political, and economic underpinnings ofthe prison system. This move enriches the awareness of people andprompts them to question their assumptions regarding prison (Davis,2003, p. 85).

Davishighlights the link between capitalism, slavery, and the expansion ofprisons throughout her article. She reveals how the emergence ofpenitentiaries during the American Revolution was intended to changethe English type of corporal punishment (Davis, 2003, p. 97).However, she also posits that the reformers ignored the authoritarianand racist elements that the reproduced systems advanced (101). Davisexposes these loopholes with the intention of changing people`sconventional way of thinking about prison.

Ina recap of her discussion, Davis contends that if abolitionistalternatives must be pursued, the focus must be shifted from onlypursuing the prison as a separate institution for correctingbehavior. An all-encompassing approach should be adopted. The motiveof social relations that advocate for the permanence of the prisonsystem and the prison system itself should be reconsidered.


Davis,A. (2003). Areprisons obsolete?(pp. 84 – 104). New York: Seven Stories Press.