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.”
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