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Fuck Prisons Graffiti on Jeff Davis and I10

August 2nd, 2009

This town, like any town worth its salt, is covered in graffiti. Some of it is deemed interesting enough to get covered on blogs and in the local paper, like the “Think That You Might Be Wrong” signs posted all over town. Those signs are considered by many to be thought provoking and interesting, when they aren’t being accused of being condescending eyesores. This graffiti, on the pedestrian bridge on Jefferson Davis crossing over the I10 to Mid-City, has been here for a long time, but it probably won’t get the press the “artsy” graffiti does. But as I rolled down past it this afternoon I wished people would think about this as much as they think about whether or not they might be wrong. Because we’re totally wrong about prisons. We put an incredible number of people in prison–the number’s gone up 400% in the last twenty years. The results of this mass imprisonment (especially of people of color, who make up 68% of the prison population) are absolutely devastating on communities. And prisons, by putting people in cages, individualize social problems. Individuals pay a terrible price, and we don’t get any closer to finding real solutions to problems like poverty, racism, uneven development, mass addiction, alienation, and the list goes on. Prisons and policing do not get us the safe and healthy communities we want–we’ve got a whole lot of evidence for that. Today as I spun past this graffiti I thought to myself, yeah, fuck prisons.

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