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Millennials Are Killing Capitalism

Sep 4, 2023

In this discussion we talk to CalvinJohn Smiley about his book Purgatory Citizenship: Reentry, Race, and Abolition, which examines how individuals returning to society navigate and negotiate this process with diminished legal rights and amplified social stigmas. 

CalvinJohn Smiley, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Sociology Department of Hunter College-City University of New York. He also has worked to abolish the death penalty, and currently volunteers at Rikers Island and Horizon Juvenile Center facilitating restorative justice programming.

We talk to Smiley about his concept of purgatory citizenship, and understanding reentry as a verb rather than a noun. We talk through his application of Walter Rodney’s analytical tools from How Europe Underdeveloped Africa to the history of Newark, NJ. Much of this conversation is centered on the experiences of folks returning from prison, and barriers presented by parole and probation processes, navigating housing, employment and many other visible and less visible hurdles. We also discuss the Prison Reentry Industry and its role within the Prison Industrial Complex or Carceral Continuum.

You can pick up this book from our friends over at Massive Bookshop. 

And speaking of radical abolitionist re-entry work. Our comrades over at Jailhouse Lawyers Speak have been working to build a housing center for women returning from prison. That is still a work in progress and can be supported so we’ll put a link to that project in the show notes where you can learn more and support their work there.

And of course a friendly reminder to support the podcast on patreon if you can. Between the study, the preparation, the editing and all the other aspects of running this show it is more than a full time job for me. Josh also puts in a significant number of hours to the show in addition to other work obligations. We really appreciate all the folks who chip in and make this show possible and if you are a listener who has not yet become a patron of the show, if you can afford to part with as little as $1 a month you can help us keep this show going. We have struggled to hit our goals in recent months and are hoping we can hit our goal for the month of September.  So kick in at if you can.