Jessica McKenzie, "Business As Usual," Collage (Detail view, right panel), 2015, with Ann Tobey, Willie Rodriguez & Ron Wilhelmsen
Juvenile Justice and Youth Advocacy Program,
Senior Capstone, Wheelock College
Artist: Jessica MacKenzie
with Ann Tobey, Willie Rodriguez & Ron Wilhelmsen
In this piece we take on the issue of Mass Incarceration in the United States. The US is currently home to the highest rates of incarceration in the world and the hugely disproportionate incarceration of people of color. The legislation springing from our “war on drugs” supports a mega prison industrial complex with corporate earnings and an undeniable connection to racism with parallels to slavery and Jim Crow segregation… Exploit and control black labor and commodify people of color for profit.
Michelle Alexander writes “Legalized discrimination like Jim Crow, mass incarceration marginalizes large segments of the African American community, segregates them physically (in prisons, jails and ghettos) and then authorizes discrimination against them in voting, employment, housing, education, public benefits, and jury service. The federal court system has effectively immunized the current system from challenges on the grounds of racial bias…”
We believe that this is perhaps the civil rights issue of our era and constitutes a civil rights crisis that requires a major social movement to demand reform of our criminal justice system, a system that continues to create and perpetuate racial hierarchy in the US."