Campus Reform | US incarceration is brutal, just like Soviet and Nazi prisons, according to Yale profs

US incarceration is brutal, just like Soviet and Nazi prisons, according to Yale profs

An upcoming seminar at Yale University will offer a comparative analysis of prison systems in the US, Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and communist China.

A Yale professor recently tweeted that the United States has 'one of the most brutal prison societies in human history.'

This fall, Yale University will offer a seminar that compares the United States prison system with the Soviet Union gulag. 

Timothy Snyder, the well-known historian and author, will co-teach "Mass Incarceration in the Soviet Union and the United States" next semester. 

According to the course description, Snyder's seminar is “an investigation of the experience and purposes of mass incarceration in the Soviet Union and the United States in the twentieth century” and will have “intensive reading” which “includes first-person accounts of the Gulag and American prison as well as scholarly monographs on the causes of mass incarceration in different contexts.” 

The Gulag was the system of forced-labor camps established under Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin. Many of its inmates were political prisoners or figures targeted by communist regimes. 

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The Daily Mail described the Gulag as the place "where people were worked to death in Soviet labour camps through the mid-1900s." The British newspaper also states that, "Between 1929 and the year of Stalin's death in 1953, 18million men and women were transported to Soviet slave labour camps in Siberia and other outposts of the Red empire - many of them never to return."

"Mass Incarceration in the Soviet Union and the United States," which includes comparative case studies on Nazi Germany and communist China, will also be co-taught by Jason Stanley

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On July 5, Stanley tweeted that the United States has "one of the most brutal prison societies in human history."

A small handful of ethnic groups in human history have faced such extraordinary rates of incarceration. But few for so many decades. Why perpetuate this cycle? Is this how the US wants history to remember it? As one of the most brutal prison societies in human history?

— Jason Stanley (@jasonintrator) July 5, 2021

The following day, Stanley reminded his Twitter followers that Nazi jailers intentionally starved three million Soviet prisoners during World War II. 

Between late 1941 and early 1942 the Germans starved *three million* Soviet prisoners of war to death.

— Jason Stanley (@jasonintrator) July 4, 2021

Campus Reform has reached out to both professors who will be leading the new course, but they have yet to respond.

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