The Prison Industrial Complex
Prison Industrial Complex
The radical opposition to the prison-industrial complex considers that the movement against prisons is a vital struggle in a broader struggle that consists in demanding greater levels of democracy and an effective democratization of society. This movement is, therefore, anti-racist, anticapitalistic, anti-sexual and antihomophobic. It demands the abolition of prison as a dominant form of punishment but, at the same time, it recognizes the need to establish genuine solidarity with the millions of men, women and children behind bars. One of the main challenges of this movement is the of working for the creation of more human and livable environments for people in prisons without supporting the permanence of the prison system. How can we carry out this act of juggling between the attention to the needs of prisoners (demanding less violent treatments within prisons, the end of sexual abuse, the improvement of the health system regarding both physical and mental health of prisoners, greater access to drug programs, better opportunities for access to education, unionization of work in prisons, more contact with families and communities, minor sentences ...), and the need to demand alternatives to prison sentences and the construction of new prisons as well as to develop abolitionist strategies that call into question the place of the prison in our future.
The prison industrial complex has led to hastening amount of imprisonment and gradually substantial sentences carried out in more and more harsh jails. For females’ inmates with medical apprehensions, these verdicts effect in even more misery than for the average convict, as their sentence is compounded by their incapacity to get care and treatment. (Chandler43). The PIC is the outcome of a burgeoning set of associations among private corporations, public institutions and individuals that profit from a mutual asset in a culture of fear and dismissal and in the progress of the punishment industry. Do Valle, Alice, et al(2006) find out that we must set the prison as 'intimately connected to global capitalism, neo-liberal politics, and US economic and military dominance' and 'pay devotion to the spaces of imprisonment that warehouse those who are excess or resilient to the new world order.( Do Valle, Alice, et al.134).
The prison industrial complex can be understood as the outcome of numerous factors. The first is the invasion of for-profit private businesses into jails and the use of jails as profit making initiatives. The second is the socio-political move from a wellbeing to a crime control state, escorted by gradually disciplinary replies to social complications. Investigation of how both features suggestively and adversely influence convicts' admission to medical care irradiates the violent nature of the prison industrial complex. (Chandler45). Some of them obliged the blacks to sign only one-year work contracts, others limited the list of property that blacks could own, others obliged them to work only in the fields or in the servant, otherwise they would be subject to an additional tax. And in most of the new prohibition measures, extremely harsh punishments were envisaged so that as many freed slaves as possible would return to work for their former masters .
Overpopulated correctional facilities became a powerful stimulator of economic growth: former slave owners, renting criminals for their plantations, increased their capital , surpassing pre-war indicators. It is known that the slave labor of prisoners was used in their coal mines by US Steel, the corporation that was the first in world history to achieve a billion-dollar turnover. Nathaniel Bedford Forest, known as the first leader of the Ku Klux Klan, for some time controlled all the prisoners of the state of Mississippi.
To a worthless labor force (in some states blacks made up 95% of the prison population) did not hesitate to use brutal torture and squeezed every cent of possible profit with impunity. Thus, in 1871, the owner of a Tennessee mine by the name of Thomas O'Conner went so far as to collect urine of convicts and sell it to local tanneries and give the bodies of the deceased at a medical institution in Nashville for a fee. The deductions from the profits from such leasing were a tidbit for the state authorities: by 1898 in the state of Alabama they amounted to approximately 73 percent of the total budget revenue . At the beginning of the 20th century, both because of public pressure over the inhuman living conditions of prisoners and because of financial interests, the southern states forbade renting prisoners and bought plantations from the owners. Prison as a business re-emerged only after decades. In the introduction to her book “ Global Lockdown”, Julia Sudbury claims that protestors and researchers worried with the prison industrial complex (PIC) must pursue to recognize the global dimensions of the gradually privatized and moneymaking punishment industry. (Do Valle3)
Entrepreneurial managers who are ready to make money on not the cleanest methods turned out to be very useful in our days, when the US penitentiary system was faced with overpopulation. The influx of prisoners, many of whom received extended sentences for drug offenses under the War on Drugs, made state authorities think about saving money - and former prison administrators, such as Terrell Don Hatto, were ready to take on the correction of criminals at a reduced price. The industry began to grow rapidly - by 2018, the total turnover of three key and several small prison corporations grew by 700 percent and exceeded $ 7.4 billion . Between 8 and 10 percent of the approximately 2.3 million US convicts are in private prisons - and this is due to the fact that in many states they do not use their services at all. Typically, businesses of this kind do benefit the state by saving up to 30 percent of the cost of each prisoner compared to a state prison.
In order to achieve such indicators, they save on almost everything. In a prison owned by a private trader, it can be much worse to clean and cook. Often the prison population does not receive the necessary medical care: there is a case in New York State when a prisoner with a broken skull was taken to a punishment cell instead of a doctor, after which he fell into a coma and died.
The situation is no better with psychological support: it happens that a single psychologist works part-time for the entire prison. This situation leads not only to suicide, but also to outbreaks of violence. And when they happen (almost 30 percent more often than in state prisons), help is also not worth the wait. The guards, who receive almost the minimum wage and sometimes have just completed a three-week training course, are armed with walkie-talkies only and, of course, are not ready to perform their work in a high-quality manner.
Every second American convict returns to jail for three years. This is already a depressing figure - but, according to the 2017 report, a prison term that is chasing profits increases the risk of a new imprisonment by almost 20 percent. Such an effect on crime ultimately leads to huge new expenses for American taxpayers and raises a reasonable question about the real benefits of such a system for society. Several independent studies answered it at once: it turned out that, taking into account all the costs, the services of private prisons bring very little financial benefit for all the social harm that they create. However , Mulch (2009) defines the frightening social and ethical liabilities originating from the artificial blending of punishment and profit acknowledged as the prison-industrial complex. It observes the world thought of punishment and criminal justice theory. He highlights the ethical and radical individuality of a country when its morals are cooperated when its own administration disrupts its own laws by establishing cruel armed and intelligence lineups opposing to the nation's basis on which its viewpoints for. (Mulch2)
Thus, owners of private prisons have access to a direct source of their income - the laws by which people end up in prison. Naturally, companies that earn money on prisoners are not interested in fair legislation, but in such a way that as many people as possible stay behind bars as long as possible. In the states with their “pure”, undiluted, as in Europe, capitalism, the main value is money. The dollar directs the hearts and minds of Americans, the dollar determines the attitude of people around and a place in the social hierarchy. The current principle: “Everything that can be sold has a right to exist. If there is a buyer, then someone needs it ”justifies the existence of absolutely vicious industries, including the developing prison industrial business. This is indeed one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, no matter how cynical it sounds to non-Americans.
The prison-industrial complex is a multimillion-dollar industry with its own web resources, conventions, brands, long-term contracts with advertising, architecture, construction, food companies, and its own armed guards. By 2011, jails had developed attractive places for companies to do business. As one study reveals, "Corporations are concerned to employed with jails because prisoners characterize an eagerly accessible and reliable source of entry-level work that is a profitable substitute to work forces available in Mexico, the Caribbean Basin, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Rim countries(Thompson2012).
Why is the prison industry so attractive? Very simple - using slave labor. Prisoners who are confined to their places, do not have the right to choose, do work for which they pay $ 10-15 an hour in the wild, getting literally a penny for it, in some private prisons 17 cents per hour, somewhere in the dollar in a day (Barraclough45). In state prisons - a little more. Workers do not go on strike, do not take leave. It is so beneficial to both owners of large corporations and slaveholders that the prison industry has caused a boom. Everyone wanted to have slaves! More and more prisons began to be built, privatization of state prisons was actively carried out, subsidies were allocated, all related industries were vividly involved in the sharing of greasy cake, concluding contracts for the supply of various goods for prisons, from plumbing to colorful, choice of cells for prisoners. “jails do not transport the proposed profit to society the jail system must be extremely repaired, if not substituted in its entireness.”( Barraclough45)
“In brief, the ethnic, gender, class, sexual and economic relations (re)produced through the prison in the United States are just one aspect of a larger process of global economic restructuring.(Do Valle, Alice, et al.134). The largest corporations are in a hurry to conclude profitable contracts with prisons. IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT & T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Revlon, Maki, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores Vicroria Secret, Nordsrom, is an incomplete list. They produce everything from underwear from Victoria's Secret to body armor and parts of aircraft.
Corporations such as AT&T are directly interested in the prosperity of the prison business. Prisoners pay 6 times more for a telephone call than in the wild. And since in business all interested parties work for mutual interest, then, according to the unspoken rule, prisoners are placed away from their home. There are such statistics that prisoners behave much more roughly and are ready for early release if they serve a term close to home. And this is not beneficial to anyone.
For business to flourish, prisons must be filled. If the "bed" is empty, then someone should pay for it. Why not taxpayers? And you can call it a tax on reduced crime. But it’s better to fill the prisons anyway. Profit is the main engine of business. And private prison companies enter into state agreements that include provisions guaranteeing a high occupancy rate in prisons. Some of these contracts require between 90 and 100% occupancy rate by prisoners. Now, imagine that a company is buying a private prison from the state, a public state prison, but a prerequisite is to guarantee that prisoners will be filled up to 90% for 20 years. And there are contracts providing for 100% filling by prisoners. Now imagine how you can find an objective judge in such a state? (Thompson2012)
The profit is so high that new areas of this business have arisen, for example, the import of prisoners with long terms. Someone worked too hard and the prison was overcrowded. Extra prisoners can be exported profitably. Americans are complex about the fact that they have tarnished their history with slavery, but in the soul (especially in the South, in the outback) they consider this fact justified. Filling prisons with blacks and Latinos, cynically exploiting their labor and treating them like cattle, the Americans venture to suggest, in addition to financial interest, take a kind of moral revenge.
Concludingly, it is believed that in prisons, prisoners should repent and reform. But, among other things, they should also be profitable - especially when it comes to private institutions in the United States. At some point, the American authorities realized that the state penitentiary system could no longer cope with the influx of prisoners and turned to the services of private firms. It turned out that they are able to extract income even from such a resource as criminals, and for the sake of additional profit they are ready to exploit their wards, as in the bad old days. The idea of a cost-effective prison is not at all new - already in 1844, the state of Louisiana turned one of its prisons into business. For entrepreneurs in the southern states, prison labor was a profitable way to catch up with the industrial north of the United States and still jails industry is profile business.
Barraclough, Laura. “Reflections on Teaching Prison Abolition.” Radical Teacher, no. 88,
Summer 2010, pp. 42–52. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1353/rdt.2010.0002.
Chandler, Cynthia. “Death and Dying in America: The Prison Industrial Complex’s Impact on
Women’s Health.” Berkeley Women’s Law Journal, vol. 18, May 2003, p. 40. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip&db=aph&AN=10461490&site=ehost-live&scope=site.
Do Valle, Alice, et al. “The Prison Industrial Complex: A Deliberation.” International Feminist
Journal of Politics, vol. 8, no. 1, Mar. 2006, pp. 130–144. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/14616740500415763.
Katen, Arlyn. “Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex.”
Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice, vol. 28, no. 2, Oct. 2013, pp. 303–316. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip&db=aph&AN=90538934&site=ehost-live&scope=site.
Letman, I. V., and T. Sloan. "Correcting corrections: a just response to the American criminal
justice system." Journal of Global Intelligence & Policy 6.10 (2013).
Mulch, Matthew. “Crime and Punishment in Private Prisons.” National Lawyers Guild Review,
vol. 66, no. 2, Summer 2009, pp. 70–94. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip&db=aph&AN=52365899&site=ehost-live&scope=site.
Thompson, Heather Ann. “The Prison Industrial Complex.” New Labor Forum (Sage
Publications Inc.), vol. 21, no. 3, Fall 2012, pp. 38–47. EBSCOhost, doi:10.4179/NLF.213.0000006.
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