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May 2, 2019

"Law, Prison, and Double-Double Consciousness: A Phenomenological View of the Black Prisoner’s Experience"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new Yale Law Review Forum piece authored by James Davis III. Here is its abstract:

This Essay introduces double-double consciousness as a new way of conceptualizing the psychological ramifications of being a black prisoner.  It begins by revisiting W.E.B. DuBois’s theory of double consciousness.  It then offers a phenomenological exposition of double-double consciousness — the double consciousness that the black prisoner came to prison with, coupled with the double consciousness that the black prisoner develops in prison.  Thought and feeling, time and space are all different in the prison.  This world relentlessly imposes the prisoner identity on all those who inhabit it, requiring them to reconcile their new status with their conceptions of self.  Based on my own experience as a black prisoner, I conclude that double-double consciousness is a mechanism through which the prisoner can maintain dignity despite living in captivity.

May 2, 2019 at 11:46 AM | Permalink


This is a must-read article. This is from the conclusion (page 1143):

Crime and punishment are intimately connected through law, but how the law operates on all the human beings involved should be considered more closely. How does incarceration affect consciousness? What are the emotional and psychological consequences of incarceration? Double-double consciousness is only the beginning of what has the potential to explain how the law changes consciousness, and how the effects of such change can be understood. If the prisoner’s consciousness is being altered through the execution of laws designed for the betterment of all, then those who practice and actively exercise the law have an added responsibility to understand the

Posted by: APD | May 3, 2019 2:24:18 PM

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