today at MASD we began our unit on data visualization. we were asked to sketch out an explanation of a phenomenon we think is socially significant. since I’m focusing my thesis research on the prison-industrial complex and mass incarceration, I’m really excited about the opportunity to start exploring these complex concepts visually.
the specific phenomenon I decided to illustrate is prison labor. I lifted this example from a pamphlet called the prison-industrial complex & the global economy. since I spent all weekend at an “undoing racism” training in new york (more on that soon!), I didn’t have much time to illustrate the relationships between different elements of the prison labor system. however, I got a lot ideas from our class discussion today and am looking forward to expanding on this design.
I think it would be interesting to do some quick math and determine what kind of profit is made off of this hypothetical example. with a decrease of $7.78 in hourly wages, how does that add up when multiplied by the number of laborers in a particular prison, for example? how many hours a week are they working? perhaps I’ll incorporate some of these numbers into the next iteration. I think it’ll also be helpful to include the text of the 14th amendment, which outlawed slavery except as punishment for a crime. it’s important to keep these systems and data in a historical context.
if you’d like to see what my classmates are working on, links to their blogs can be found here.