E.D. Soffiyah Elijah Discusses Cuba Incarceration Models in Guernica Interview
In 2015, CA Executive Director Soffiyah Elijah organized three trips to Cuba, providing travelers an opportunity to observe up close how Cuba’s criminal justice system operates in comparison – and contrast – to the way that the United States’ system prosecutes and incarcerates people. In a recent 2016 issue of Guernica magazine, writer Hyatt Bass, a member of one of the CA delegations to Cuba, interviewed Elijah about the distinctions between the two countries when it comes to the concept of punishment.
In the conversation entitled, “Lessons from Cuba’s Incarceration Model,” the women share their perspectives on what they both agree is a broken U.S. criminal justice system, while giving the reader a glimpse into Cuba’s prison conditions for men, women and youth, approaches to rehabilitation, re-entry, proximity to home communities, and access for foreign visitors to their prisons. Elijah. a veteran visitor to Cuba and a seasoned observer of the workings of the American criminal justice systems, was the ideal guide. As she observed, “You don’t have this demonization and stereotyping that we have here, where incarcerated people are so ostracized they’re like the untouchables.”
The United States has 5% of the world’s women, and 33% of its incarcerated women. Women’s imprisonment rose 700% nationally between 1980 and 2014, and women of color are disproportionately arrested and incarcerated. In response to this dramatic increase, the National Institute of Corrections and the National Resource Center on Justice-Involved Women worked to develop effective practices for women’s prisons through a Gender Informed Practice Assessment tool, known as GIPA.Read More
MARYSVILLE, Ohio — One-month-old Javon Jackson fidgets with his mom’s jacket as he drinks from his bottle and holds her hand. His mom coos. Her friends laugh, and a precocious, 2-year-old toddler stops by and waves hi. In all, it is a typical, upbeat moment for any mother and child — until prison officials tell [...]Read More
“Solitary at Southport: A 2017 Report Based Upon the Correctional Association’s Visits, Data Analysis, & First-Hand Accounts of the Torture of Solitary Confinement from One of New York’s Supermax Prisons”
“The isolation itself is torture. Mentally and emotionally, it breaks you down. Spiritually it strips you. The way it is built is to break you down as a person and push your family away.” From “Solitary at Southport” Solitary confinement is torture. New York State subjects people to solitary confinement and other forms of isolation [...]Read More
Under unique statutory authority granted to the CA in 1846, WIPP monitors conditions in women’s prisons in New York, a role played by no other group in the country. WIPP coordinates the Coalition for Women Prisoners, a statewide alliance of more than 1,800 people, and carries out advocacy campaigns to reform harmful criminal justice policies. [...]Read More