The first open prison came in Switzerland in 1891. The U.S. in 1916. The concept has existed for longer. In India, since 1836.
Open or open-air prisons “trust” incarcerated people to complete sentences with less supervision and usually no cells. They’re promoted as a humane way to offer incarcerated people more autonomy. But that isn’t the whole story.
“Open-air prison” also describes history’s colonial inhumanity. South Africa's U.S.-backed apartheid government restricted movement and voting rights and punished dissenters like Nelson Mandela. U.S. Jim Crow segregation enforced similar conditions.
Right now, Gaza is a site of genocide. The Israeli government has eradicated entire bloodlines, targeting residential homes, schools, and hospitals.
The U.S., a world leader in incarceration rates, consistently funds mass incarceration and policing and manufactures anti-Black copaganda here.
It’s no coincidence that it also manufactures anti-Palestinian propaganda, funds open-air incarceration, and even targets Jewish Ethiopians. Not to mention, U.S. police train with the Israeli military.
The legacy of open-air prisons isn't humanity but carceral colonization. True humanity is liberation.
And liberation is all marginalized people having freedom to movement, survival, and a life without fear of propaganda dehumanizing us and marking us worthy of genocide.