Special Issue: On Police, Prison, and Plagues

Khaleel Grant, Elsa Hardy, Max Mishler, and Elizabeth Ross // Starting in December of 2020, a series of rebellions rocked the St. Louis City Justice Center (CJC) and the St. Louis City Minimum Security Institution (MSI), frequently referred to as “the Workhouse.” People incarcerated at both institutions broke out of their cells, detained correctional officers,…

Zombie Apocalypse 2022(?): A Personal Struggle With Vaccines

Brenda Tyrrell // I admit it. I have not gotten a flu vaccine for nearly twenty years. While some readers may be shocked at this confession, I am betting there are a few that may boast of an even greater number of years. I’m technically not an anti-vaxxer – I’m vaccinated for the Big Ones…

The Poetics of Chronicity (review)

Travis Chi Wing Lau // Michael J. Leach. Chronicity. Melbourne: Melbourne Poets Union, 2020.             How does the temporality of chronic pain become registered in poetic form? This has long been a question that I have been pursuing in my own crip poetic project as a disabled poet living with scoliosis-related disabilities. If, per Elaine…

Subjective objects

Madeleine Mant // As an anthropologist of health, I am deeply invested in both bodies and objects relating to bodies. I want to know how access to healthcare becomes embodied in varied sets of data, from human skeletal remains to institutional records to material culture. Traces of lived lives wait quietly, some beneath the soil,…

Blue Death

Dr Jac Saorsa, Artist-in-Residence//    Reach me a gentian, give me a torch!    let me guide myself with the blue, forked torch of a flower    down the darker and darker stairs, where blue is darkened on blueness,    even where Persephone goes…    (extract from Bavarian Gentians, D.H. Lawrence) For Wassily Kandinsky, the…

How 27 Years in Prison Prepared Me for Coronavirus

Lawrence Bartley // If there’s one thing people who spent a long time in prison have acquired, it’s the ability to adapt. Originally published in The Marshall Project on April 7, 2020. Republished with permission from the author. When I need to go to my local supermarket, I suit up with latex gloves I got…

Displaced and Confined: Impossible Subjects and the Politics of Abolition in COVID-19 Times

Martha Balaguera[1] // The COVID-19 pandemic has shed new light on the paradoxes of our time. Consider the great vulnerabilities of so-called “essential” workers in farms, factories, hospitals, schools, daycares, slaughterhouses, delivery warehouses, as well as in marginalized “hot-spot” neighborhoods of segregated urban areas. At the same time, vulnerable groups with essential needs of international…

LOOKING INSIDE: Portraits of Women Serving Life Sentences

Sara Bennett // More than 200,000 people in the United States are serving life sentences, a punishment that barely exists in other Western countries. I’ve long believed that if judges, prosecutors, and legislators could see people convicted of serious crimes as individual human beings, they would rethink the policies that lock them away forever. Before…

Arrogance and Hubris

Boudicca // This essay was originally published in Scalawag and is reprinted here courtesy of Exchange for Change. Several similar first-person accounts of COVID-19 in prison will appear in the forthcoming anthology Hear Us. We watched the inexorable spread of COVID-19 on World News Tonight. Still, it did not make much of an impression on the…