By Thomas Gardner
California needs to continue reducing prison overcrowding and focus more attention on education and communities, according to a recent university symposium.
The University of California Merced’s Center for the Humanities sponsored the event, titled “30 Years of Mass Incarceration.”
“We don’t want to save money, we want to spend it on education and the bettering of the community,” said activist and author Ruth Wilson Gilmore, as reported by the Merced Sun Star.
“Things do not have to be the way they became. There were alternatives away from mass incarceration, but they weren’t taken,” Gilmore added.
The event featured professors and authors as part of the university’s seminar series called “Race and Justice in Transnational Perspective.”
On the subject of race and injustice, mass incarceration cannot be avoided, said Associate Professor Tanya Golash-Boza, organizer of the symposium.
“When we talk about race disparities and injustice, incarceration is a big issue,” she said.
Two of the university’s professors from the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, Nigel Hatton and Zulema Valdez, also volunteer their time and energy with the Prison University Project. The professors said the inmates they have worked with appreciate the access to education, the Sun Star reported.
Golash-Boza noted that symposium attendees included students, organizers of projects and public defenders.