The cage has two sides : an ethical perspective of prison abolition Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/4b29b810w

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  • Current calls for prison abolition have been met with major public resistance. It is time for movements for prison abolition to engage with these questions: How have contemporary people of the United States come to accept mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex, and, what is the impact? Using an ethical framework informed by Martin Buber's I-It and I-Thou and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s ethical demands for integration, this thesis shows that the prison industrial complex is harmful to members of the free public by preventing our ability to recognize the full humanity of those sent behind bars, and therefore ourselves. Our system of mass incarceration relies upon the willingness of the society to first objectify criminals in order to rationalize their dehumanization through incarceration. By internalizing the practice of dehumanizing others, our humanity is objectified and our best moral self is compromised to ensure the prison industrial complex continues. The abolitionist movement must gain this insight in order to effectively address the fundamental ethical issue of prisons and also to connect the free victims to a dominating system of dehumanization, the prison industrial complex.
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