Monday, September 16, 2013

Papers of the 2012 Tupac Amaru Shakur Collection Conference: Hip Hop, Education & Expanding the Archival Imagination

The Papers of the 2012 Tupac Amaru Shakur Collection Conference: Hip Hop, Education & Expanding the Archival Imagination has now been published.  The file is available here.  Last Fall the Robert W. Woodruff Library at Atlanta University Center (Clark Atlanta University, Spellman College, Morehouse College, and Interdenominational Theological Center) hosted a conference that brought together scholars from across disciplines and across the world.  This blogs very own, andré douglas pond cummings and Nick J. Sciullo both presented.  Sciullo's paper can be found at pp. 32-37 of the conference proceedings.  

This interdisciplinary exploration of Tupac, hip-hop, and the archival imagination should be of tremendous interest to hip hop, law, criminology, and librarianship scholars.

-- Nick J. Sciullo

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Momentum Shift in the Failed War on Drugs

Important news last week out of Washington D.C.:  The Justice Department will not challenge state laws in Colorado and Washington that legalize marijuana and will abruptly change focus in the prosecution of the War on Drugs.  In what is no doubt bad news to the private prison industry, federal enforcement will now shift focus from scooping up low level, non-violent drug offenders and instead prioritize stopping large drug cartels and kingpin operations.

From CNN:  "Under the new guidelines,  federal prosecutors are required to focus on eight enforcement priorities, including preventing marijuana distribution to minors,preventing drugged driving, stopping drug trafficking by gangs and cartels and forbidding the cultivation of marijuana on public lands. . . . 

Nineteen states and the District ofColumbia allow some legal use of marijuana, primarily for medicinal
purposes.  The attorney general told  the Washington and Colorado governors that the Justice Department will work with the states to craft regulations that fall in line with the federal priorities, and reserves the right to try to block the laws if federal authorities find repeated violations."

As private prison profiteers have raked in billions of dollars of taxpayer money warehousing low level marijuana users, this shift in focus will now harm bottom line profitability.  Private prison corporations, perhaps anticipating the impending sea change, have already re-focused efforts to fill prison beds and maintain profitability by lobbying furiously for detention policies that imprison immigrants.  The next battle against the perverse incentives that motivate private prison corporations is shaping up to take place along immigration reform lines.

Hip hop has long exposed the discrimination and racism inherent in the prosecution of the War on Drugs calling for its end.