American Incarceration : Where We Are, And What Can Be Done?

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Yasir Choudhury
Dr. João Vargas
UGS 303 Mass Incarceration
5 October 2015
American Incarceration: Where We Are, and What Can be Done
From its early inception as a necessary aspect of modern society to its broken state that can be seen today, the American penal system has changed radically in recent history from an institution that performed the duty of safeguarding the public from those too dangerous to be left unsupervised to a business model concerned more with generating a profit for shareholders. With a 500% increase in inmates that is rivalled by no other country, the United States leads the world in imprisoning a fast-growing portion of its population. It is without a doubt that adverse changes in policy regarding imprisonment along with the formation and privatization of the prison industrial complex contributes substantially to the state of mass incarceration in the United States and will continue to shape its future for the years to come.
I will approach the writings of Angela Davis and Wilson Gilmore by comparing their theories on the profit motive behind the recent upward trend in the rate of incarcerated individuals in the United States in the past thirty years. To do so, I will analyze Davis ' essay on the prison industrial complex, paying special attention to the ways in which she relates the formation of privately run correctional facilities to the recent rising trend of the national prison population. Second, I
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