I took my students to prison, by Ieva Jusionyte

Association for Political and Legal Anthropology

Jusionyte-students to prison

This semester I took students in my Law and Order in the Americas seminar on a tour to the Florida State Prison in Raiford. FSP is one of the largest prisons in the state and it houses inmates in close management and maximum management wings––all solitary confinement cells. The state’s execution chamber, where legal injections are performed and where the electric chair is still an option, is also located in the facility.

I first went on a tour to FSP two years ago, when I began teaching this course as a new assistant professor at the University of Florida. I sought ways to show the seminar’s graduate and undergraduate participants that the theoretical issues we were addressing – such as, the operation of power and the routine functioning of social control through panopticism – were relevant beyond our classroom. FSP provides regular bi-weekly tours of the facility, so I decided…

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