Peculiar Parallels

Ellen Dahlke
Jun 6 · 5 min read

In California, where I live, a person convicted of a crime and sentenced to time in state prison gets housed according to a points system that sorts people into four “security levels,” with gradually more restrictive limits on their movement, autonomy, and access to human connection. Annually, each person incarcerated in the California state prison system can expect to have a state agent assess their number of points, according to a standard rubric, and generate a report that dictates the security level of their housing for the next year. Thus, points on the rubric have significant implications for the material conditions…