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We Are Not SlavesState Violence, Coerced Labor, and Prisoners' Rights in Postwar America$
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Robert T. Chase

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469653570

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469653570.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 02 July 2022

Enslaving Prison Bodies

Enslaving Prison Bodies

Labor Division, Prison Rape, and the Internal Prison Economy

(p.102) Chapter 3 Enslaving Prison Bodies
We Are Not Slaves

Robert T. Chase

University of North Carolina Press

Chapter 3 moves from the field to the prison building to reveal how hierarchical prisoner labor arrangements structured an internal prison economy that bought and sold prisoner bodies and services as cell slavery. By narrating southern prisons’ shift from dormitories to cells, this chapter will show how the power and control of prisoner trustees was strengthened by the changes. Within the southern convict guard framework, prison rape is analyzed as a state-orchestrated design rather than as an individual act pf prisoner pathology. Through an analysis of sexual violence in male prisons as a social construct of the southern trustee system, this chapter joins in a historical turn toward placing sexual violence at the very center of racial oppression. Seeking to take prison rape seriously as evidence of evolving state control and orchestration, the chapter pushes against the criminological view that has cast prison rape as a timeless function of the prisoners’ own pathology. The chapter also considers how women prisoners experienced the southern trusty system and the state’s attempt to isolate and target women that the prison classified as the “aggressive female homosexual.”

Keywords:   Sexual/State Violence, Prison Rape, Internal Economies, Southern Trustees, Social Control, Racial Hierarchy, Building Tender, Southern Trusty System, Prison Slave Trade, Women Prisoners

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