Our Vision

Carceral Complex aims to gather writings and foster debates on surveillance and detention in their varied forms. We are a site for those left and further left of center to hash out paths to decarcerate the United States.

Many pieces, we hope, will directly address criminal justice and/or immigration policy and their manifestations across prisons, jails, detention centers, and other constructions of incarceration. We want to broaden such discussions. Let us explore: How have we normalized the existence of the carceral state across all aspects of our lives?

Movements to downsize detention, shift police practices, and formulate an inclusive immigration policy face countless threats. So do other overlapping issues necessitating urgent change: racial equality, domestic and sexual violence, LGBTQ protections, women’s rights, animal treatment—the list defies limits. Across fronts, now is the time to speak out for radical change. But inward-facing, cross-movement conversations are also crucial. Intersections must be mined. Paths forward must be elaborated.

The next two and four years, as well as beyond, promise to be dark times in national United States politics. Still, openings exist, and will widen in the future. This site aims to be a space marrying discussion of theoretical and practical ideas of change. While our center is North America, we also strive to seek globally for lessons. We welcome abolitionists and reformers alike.

Regardless of ideology, we must not allow the movement towards change to be coopted. Reentrenchment of certain group’s protections alongside further alienation of others is unacceptable. Worldwide, yet especially in the United States, apparatus of surveillance and incarceration are harsh in their iterations. Some must not be sacrificed in the names of others.

The state should not set limits in caring for its citizens. But policies must be bold in their recognition of privacy and personal liberty for the most disadvantaged. Incarceration is not the de facto form of human punishment. As a society, we can be more inventive in our imagination of behavior incentivization. Compassion over containment. Together, Carceral Complex aims to aid, if only marginally, in the formation of such visions.

The content on this site will be varied. Short-takes on criminal justice news will be regularly posted. In addition, longer pieces will be published as frequently as possible. As of now, we are a small team. With your assistance, we will expand. Submissions of any length are requested. There is no topical priority for publications. We desire to grow through increased participation.

Rather than centralized content production, Carceral Complex is to be a platform to test out and strengthen ideas. Yet this will not be a comment war. Ongoing debates will, ideally, be hashed out through submissions of formative, rigorous responses to pieces that appear on the site.

Carceral Complex will be a site created by and for its visitors. The site will combine short reflections on recent news, longer meditations on topics related to incarceration/immigration, and rebuttals to these pieces. Constructing a vision is a dialectical process. And we hope that you will add your opinions to these debates.

Only through joining together in educating ourselves and challenging ideas we see as unjust can we collectively strengthen our perspectives on the future.

Submissions and questions can be directed to editors@carceralcomplex.com. Both one-time and regular submissions are welcome. Furthermore, if you are interested in joining our editing, design, or news team, please write us.

To sign up for our periodic email newsletter, please visit: https://goo.gl/forms/69cVyTKro3EGE1Ym2.

We are all readers. Let us all become writers.


Editor: Brett Diehl

Assistant Editors: Azza Cohen, Grace Li