Life Behind Bars: The Eugenic Structure of Mass Incarceration

Argument concerning the role of mass incarceration in modern eugenics and mass incarceration as the modern structure of eugenics. 

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Between 2006 and 2010, nearly 150 women were unlawfully sterilized in California prisons.  Prison medical staff have defended the procedures as a service to taxpayers, and even to the women themselves, as a way of preventing the birth of “unwanted children.”   This chapter situates the recent sterilization of women in California prisons in relation to the history of eugenics in the United States as well as broader patterns of racism, class oppression, reproductive injustice, and mass incarceration.