The purpose of this project is to analyze the crisis of mass incarceration by placing the conditions faced by elderly, terminally ill, and dying prisoners, as its main point of focus. Much of this crisis was built through post-1970s American penal policies which set in place tough sentencing laws, increased prosecutorial power, and ultimately, led to a significant growth in the prisoner population. Today, elderly and terminally ill prisoners make up the fastest growing population inside of prisons. Few of these prisoners are approved for early release, and instead die while incarcerated. This has resulted in a condition of mass death within a system of mass incarceration. In order to manage the crisis of mass death, many prisons have constructed specialized hospice care units, internal to the prison facility. As the practice of providing hospice care inside of prisons becomes more and more commonplace, it is crucial to document their functions. The following project attempts to provide a critical analysis of the origins of prison-hospice care, the benefits and limitations of these facilities, and the experiences of prisoners within these spaces. Ultimately, this project seeks to highlight the conditions which have naturalized mass death inside of American prisons, and invites its readers to look beyond the horizon of mass incarceration.
Chavez, Ernest K.
"From the Warehouse to the Deathbed: Challenging the Conditions of Mass Death in Prison,"
Themis: Research Journal of Justice Studies and Forensic Science:
Vol. 3, Article 1.
Available at: http://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/themis/vol3/iss1/1