In the third and final installation of its trilogy, Against Equality once again demonstrates that another queer and radical world is possible. The essays in this volume take a critical stance against the prison industrial complex and the system of inequality and violence perpetuated by hate crimes legislation, formally passed in the United States in 2009 as the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
Prisons Will Not Protect You, a compilation of archived work, is located at the difficult and traumatic point where the violence of the state against queer and LGBT people colludes with the violence we are always trying to escape. The pieces here question the gay community’s fealty to the prison industrial complex, arguing that hate crimes legislation, which enhances penalties and can even be used to bring in the death penalty, only serves to funnel massive numbers of people into prisons with increasing lengths of time served and the use of tortuous methods like solitary confinement. This has significant racial and economic implications in a country that houses five percent of the world’s population but nearly a quarter of the world’s prisoners and where prisons have become, for many impoverished area and people, the only source of livelihood.
With an introduction by Dean Spade and work by contributors Liliana Segura, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Jason Lydon, Jack Aponte, Sébastien Barraud, Imani Keith Henry, James D’Entremont, Yasmin Nair, Erica Meiners, Liam Michaud, Josh Pavan, Bridget Simpson, Prisons Will Not Protect You introduces the history of hate crimes legislation and its part in the expansion of the prison industrial complex. It also examines specific cases, like that of the New Jersey Four and Texas Four, demonstrating the vulnerability of raced and gendered bodies within the labyrinthine and mundane realities of the law. Prisons Will Not Protect You exposes the deadly links between state-sponsored violence, homophobia, and the criminal punishment system.