Prisons on islands and mountains, in cities and countrysides, towers and dungeons. There are prisons that try to pretend they are not, and others that, inescapably, constantly remind you where you are.
Prisons segregate: In the United States, where more people are incarcerated than any other country, the majority of those in federal, state, and local prisons are the historically oppressed.
Exile: the prison that turns what is inside out and keeps the outside from coming in. Surveillance, the panoptical city now settled by as many cameras and sensors as inhabitants. Some go by other names and almost all promise or withhold versions of freedom—camps, centers, asylums, the reach of phone signals or the electromagnetic curtains of radar, a modern-day mutation of the old fortress walls of earth and stone.
Some confine or hold us within less physical bounds—addiction, debt, the closet, hunger, thirst, longing—prisons segregate, they keep some in, some out. But they all sort us into defined, ascribed categories, classes, types, genders, based on ascribed propensities, appearances, stereotypes. And yet for the confined, prison is always the wrong place, the wrong time.
When you can't tell your mind from a hole in the wall: you’re in prison too.
Is there any way to break out?
Issue VI will be published November 2017. To learn how to contribute, read our submissions guidelines.