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Prison-industrial complex

The prison-industrial complex refers to interest groups that represent organizations that do business in correctional facilities, such as prison guard unions, construction companies, and surveillance technology vendors, and to the belief that these actors may be more concerned with making profits than actually rehabilitating criminals or reducing crime rates.

Allegedly, this desire for monetary gain has led to the rise of the Prison industry. Writing for The Atlantic Monthly in December 1998, Eric Schlosser said that "The 'prison-industrial complex' is not only a set of interest groups and institutions; it is also a state of mind. The lure of big money is corrupting the nation's criminal-justice system, replacing notions of safety and public service with a drive for higher profits. The eagerness of elected officials to pass tough-on-crime legislation — combined with their unwillingness to disclose the external and social costs of these laws — has encouraged all sorts of financial improprieties.

Critical Resistance, a political interest group that seeks to abolish the prison industrial complex, states that, "The prison industrial complex (PIC) is a complicated system situated at the intersection of governmental and private interests that uses prisons as a solution to social, political, and economic problems. The PIC depends upon the oppressive systems of racism, classism, sexism, and homophobia. It includes human rights violations, the death penalty, industry and labor issues, policing, courts, media, community powerlessness, the imprisonment of political prisoners, and the elimination of dissent.

These views are shared widely by critics of the carceral state, retributive justice, military-industrial complex, the War on Terrorism, the War on Drugs, militarism and Homeland Security.

See also



  • Angela Davis, The Prison Industrial Complex, CD-ROM (Audiobook), AK Press 1999, ISBN 1902593227

External links

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