Friday, February 26th, 2016

Karen M. Morin – Morin, Karen M. “Carceral Space: Prisoners and Animals.” Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography (2016).

Karen M. Morin, Associate Provost

This paper develops a framework for exploring resonances across human and nonhuman carceral geographies. I illustrate the close linkages across prisoner and animal carcerality and captivity focusing on three types of sites and institutions: the prison execution chamber and the animal slaughterhouse; sites of medical (and other) laboratory testing of pharmaceutical and other products on incarcerated humans and captive animals; and sites and institutions of exploited prisoner and animal labor. The main themes that call for a ‘carceral comparison’ among these sites include the emotional and psychological strain and violence enacted on bodies that is interwoven into their day-to-day operations; their geographies (locations, design and layout) and the carefully choreographed and regulated movements within them that speak to regimes of surveillance, power, and control; and the ethical questions that arise when we consider the potential for these sites to become locations of genocide and extinction of particular populations.

Morin, Karen M. “Carceral Space: Prisoners and Animals.” Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography (2016).

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Friday, February 26th, 2016

Karen M. Morin – Morin, Karen M. “The Late-Modern American Jail: Epistemologies of Space and Violence.” The Geographical Journal forthcoming (2015).

Karen M. Morin, Associate Provost

One of the most troubling aspects of current trends in American mass incarceration is the extent to which ‘criminality’ is produced within prison walls, primarily in the form of inmate–inmate or inmate–staff assaults. Most methods of prison or jail control have the adverse, and perverse, effect of increasing inmates’ levels of fear, terror, and ultimately violence – with stabbings, beatings, and other types of assaults common occurrences. The design of podular ‘direct supervision’ jails and their accompanying philosophies of punishment aspire to change these conditions. Direct supervision features correctional officers inside each housing unit with no physical barriers impeding supervision, and is intended to create a safe, more humane, stress-free environment for both inmates and staff. This study draws on ethnographic evidence of inmate experiences with direct supervision at Douglas County Department of Corrections in Omaha, Nebraska (USA). The respondents generally do feel safe in this jail environment, for a combination of reasons, some of which are related to spatial design. Inmates identified a number of implications – gains and losses – of this more ‘humane’ form of incarceration in terms of power and empowerment. The study also documents the potential for inmate activism on their own behalf through this design.

Morin, Karen M. “The Late-Modern American Jail: Epistemologies of Space and Violence.” The Geographical Journal forthcoming (2015).

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