Artist: Raquel Natalicchio
Medium: 120 film scan mounted on acrylic
Dimensions: 24 x 36 inches
The late Mark Fisher once famously said that it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism. The same could be said about prisons: it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine a world without prisons. And yet the modern prison as it currently exists in the United States is a fairly recent invention. Although penological debates about competing systems of punishment and rehabilitation raged in the North in the early nineteenth century, by the end of the Civil War, physical penitentiaries were uncommon in some frontier states. Florida—which now has one of the largest prison systems in the U.S.—had no physical penitentiaries at the end of the Civil War and had to create its penal system from scratch.
Excerpt from “The Prison Abolitionist Imagination” written by Jackie Wang