Question 1. According to Angela Davis (2003a), social historian Mike Davis was the first to coin the term prison industrial complex, in his research of the California penal system in the 1990s. The prison industrial complex refers to the coinciding relationship between corporations, government, correctional communities, and their collective economic interest in prison expansion and high rates of incarceration (Davis, 2003a). That is, each of these components benefit economically from perpetuating the notion that increasing crime rates are the causation for prison expansion. However, scholars and activists contest this belief, stating that crime rates are decreasing, and that prison expansion is done to increase profits through imprisonment (Davis, 2003a). In this model, criminal justice policy, crime control and the bodies of the marginalized, are organized and managed using a business philosophy focused solely of profitability.
Business’s that appear to be removed from the corrupt corporation of prison are ultimately expanding the prison industrial complex. Prison incarceration has become a multi-billion dollar industry that needs more than 2 million U.S. citizens to put into prison on any given day. This paper will be base for explaining how the PIC works and what really goes on behind all the barbed wire and armed guards. “The term ‘Prison Industrial Complex’ was first coined by either Eric Schlosser in 1998 or by Angela Davis in the same year, in order to examine the complex configuration compromised of the US prison system, multi-national corporations, small private business and the inmate population in the social and political economy of the 21st century United States “(Smith and Hattery 2). The prison system today seems to be a flawed one, where the smallest offences send people to years into either a private, state, or federal prison.
The United States spends nearly $81 billion per year on corrections, but where is this money coming from, where is it going, and is it actually reducing crime rates? Crime rates in the United States have fallen since 1991 and murder rates have also fallen by half in last 25 years, however the prison population has increased by 500% in the last 40 years. Increase in the number of incarcerated citizens also lead to an increase in new prisons around the country and also the crippling of the american justice system. As the author of Wages of Rebellion describes, the prison-industrial-system as the most
Many people believe mass incarceration is a pivotal issue in recent times. However, mass incarceration has been an issue that has plagued the United States and the world for many decades. The idea of mass incarceration deals with the dramatic rise of incarceration rate sin the Unite sates after the 1960s. In the United states, we hold approximately 3 million people in our jails and prisons, and over 7 million people are involve din our criminal justice system. The more troubling idea is the idea of a prison-industrial system. This idea deals with the overlapping interest of the American government with imprisonment and the criminal justice system. The government is viewing the jail system as an economic boom instead of a racist, power driving
From 1973 to 2000 the imprisonment rate in the U.S has increased by a multiple of four, while the actual crime rate saw no such increase over that period. (Visher and Travis, 2003, p. 89-90) Historically, the prison system in America had always been marred with inadequacies and failures, specifically in rehabilitating prisoners. The significant increase in incarceration rates have put an even greater burden on the already inefficient prison system. In reality, the prison system does not actually function as a means of rehabilitating prisoners, and real purpose of the institute is to basically keep the “deplorables” of society away from the public eye. It serves as a tool to degrade members of society to the bottom of the social ladder and strip them of their most basic rights. For many prisoners, rehabilitation comes in the form of “corrections” which is largely characterized by the humiliation, abuse, and subjugation of inmates by correction officers. This form of rehabilitation is largely malicious and ineffective in its procedures and outcomes. Often times inmates, leave prison more emotionally and physically damaged that they were upon entrance as a consequence of the dismal conditions they were subjugated to. The current high rates of recidivism have testified to the fact that our prisons have failed as a deterrent. As a result, it must be
Traditionally, there have been four justifications for punishment: deterrence, confinement, rehabilitation and retribution. While these methods can be flawed at some point in history they served as primary reasons for the justification of punishment. Recently, there has been an epistemic shift in thinking about punishment where now it is focused on retribution and incarceration. The emphasis on this method has lead to an increase in incarceration and the rise of a prison system. While we acknowledge that there will always be a need for society to punish criminals in order to protect the rights of individuals, however a prison/prison system is not the correct way to handle such problems. Currently the prison system is being used an economic tool for private companies to exploit cheap labor from inmates. Known as the prison-industrial complex private enterprises are now able to build more prisons to “benefit” society and themselves as the prison population grows. Since the 1980’s the growth in prison
Our prison systems are outrageous. Dealing with false sentencing, death penalty, rules and regulations, inmates, well-being, and how their being treated in these prisons. Yes, they are criminals, but they are not supposed to be beat and uncared for in these places, they are supposed to be there serving time for the crimes they have committed.
The Prison Industrial Complex can be described as a contract or lease from a private corporation that allows them to contract convict labor. The government argues that they are merely converting public tax money when in reality it has only provided profit for private corporations. It serves two purposes. The first is
The United States holds 5% of the world's population. But it has a quarter of the world's prisoners. Incarceration rates have increased by 400% from 1980 - 2009 and 41% of juveniles have been arrested by the time they’re 23. ()This growth is phenomenal compared to the 1960’s. This can only mean that mass incarceration fails to reduce crime. For decades now, the laws have been getting harsher and have caused the jails to become overwhelmed with people; especially in the United States. Up until the 1960’s, the United States has had a pretty stable prison population. In that time, we started to see an increase of drugs and violence in the United States . This resulted in huge increases in drug penalties; a move to mandatory minimum sentences;
More people have been locked up in the United States than any other country. In the article “Prison Industrial Complex Economics”, it states, “the United States has approximately 6.5 million people under the criminal justice supervision. Incarcerated rate has grown from 176 in 1973 up to 700 in the year of 2000” (Waquant). Incarceration is a big business that feeds into drug violence, corrupted guards, and racism in criminal justice system, taxpayer cost, and racism in the criminal system and through privatization of prisons.
For my analysis, I decided to read the 2006 book Punishment and Inequality in America by author Bruce Western. The book takes a look into the relationship among crime, incarceration, and inequality and what really connects them together. Western shows that although there was a decrease in crime rates about 20 years ago, the reason behind this decrease is not what it may seem and that the decrease may of even come at a significant cost to those effected by the prison boom. Through my analysis, I hope to explore and convey what Western has claimed and examine if his arguments hold truth or not in dealing with our prison systems. On top of this, I will attempt to connect a few theories we as a class have learned about throughout the semester to what Western has has claimed in his book.
Bruce Western’s, Punishment and Inequality in America, discusses the era of the “Prison Boom” that occurs from 1970-2003—when incarceration rates climbed almost five times higher than they had been in the twentieth century—while stating the effects and consequences that mass imprisonment created within the United States penal system. By discussing the disparities of incarceration between sex, age, race and education level, and how post-incarceration affects opportunities such as marriage and high-waged employment. Western provides an analysis of how the risk of incarceration accumulates over an individual’s lifespan.
The U.S. prison system is one of many great controversies when compared to other correctional systems. America’s prison population has increased by 700% (2.4 million current inmates) since the start of the war on drugs in 1971. As a result of this “war”, people that fall into the racial minority have suffered as a direct consequence of unjust legislation. Our prison system is known for its overrepresentation of minorities such as Blacks and Hispanics. This unfortunately gives these groups of people a perennial negative stigma as a result. I argue that the U.S. prison industrial-complex emphatically displays signs of prejudice and racism and disproportionately incarcerates people of color at a rate higher than whites. Yes, there are skeptics who think “the left’s prison-complex” is wrong about their theory of mass incarceration but the statistical data and concrete facts in support of my argument are very compelling.
The United States is home to five percent of the world population, but 25 percent of the world’s prisoner. There must be a change to the current prison system which is doing more harm than good in American society and must be reformed. Reasons for this claim are that American prisons are too overcrowded with inmates, which creates a dangerous and unhuman environment. The cost to run a prison has gotten too expensive for tax payer pockets, and lastly the prison system is more as a punishment instead of rehabilitation with about sixteen percent of inmates most serious offence being drug charges. Prisons fall short of reforming criminals and the government is obligated to completely reform the prison systems in the United States.