Talk:Prison–industrial complex

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Peer Review[edit]

This article is very well written and does a fair job at remaining neutral. There are a few areas that should be revised as previously pointed out by other comments on the talk page. The article is written in a way in which I remained interested during the whole read. One area that caught my attention is the Economics section. I think adding some statistics to validate what is said in the economics section would add a little more solidarity; statistics that explain how much profit is being made for industries from the PIC, how much are prison inmates actually being paid, and how much are the inmates actually working. Also, I think it would be beneficial to add more information from the point of view of the pro PIC perspective. AEsquibel23 (talk) 23:52, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

Persistent POV problems[edit]

We are here to describe the use of the term, not assert it as fact, e.g. "The prison-industrial complex IS an industry fueled by the continuous incarceration of minority groups." Sentences like this undermine the credibility of the article. If you want to add minority groups as one of the activists' concerns, then cite your source and do so.

It is a fact that the prison population grew rapidly. It is a fact that there are businesses that profit from prisons. It is a fact that some writers and activists argue that one causes the other.

The prison industrial complex is not a fact, but a perspective. It's our job to outline and describe how source materials present and support this perspective. AECwriter 18:33, 23 August 2012 (UTC)aecwriter

Not a catch-all for everything prison[edit]

When adding to this article, please keep the topic in mind and ensure your edit relates to the concept of the Prison Industrial Complex. Readers should understand how your addition relates not just to prison issues in general, but to the idea that that is the subject of this article. At this point, people are frequently sourcing prison-related material which does not address the Prison Industrial Complex per se. The material you use must make that connection; you can't just do it on your own.

In one example, someone titled an external link, "Audio of a Christian Parenti talk on understanding and tackling the Prison Industrial Complex." This is not the title of the speech. In fact, Parenti nowhere uses the term "Prison Industrial Complex." Moreover, Parenti has stated elsewhere that he finds the term vague and unhelpful in understanding contemporary prison issues. AECwriter 18:12, 23 August 2012 (UTC)aecwriter


The United States is single handedly the country with the biggest Prison Industrial Complex in the world. In the book "Are Prisons Obsolete" by Angela Davis she explains in detail the extensive research shows that the injustices within our prison with our prisoners forced into labor.

(virus 234) (The URL for this CD is subject to change.)

The image associated with this web page is almost meant to influence the viewer to believe that there has been a clear change in policy that has caused the spike in incarcerated prisoners. This could match well with the population growth curve of the united states. I tried looking at the population growth of the united states from 1900-2012, but it only shows from 1980. The increase has been from ~200,000,000 to ~300,000,000, so maybe, it would be better to have an image on this page that shows the percentage rather than absolute number of incarcerated americans as a function of the year. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:42, 25 October 2012 (UTC)

Proposed merger[edit]

User:Sea.wolf4/Sandbox/PIC Sandbox and User:Sea.wolf4/Sandbox1 are two articles about Prison-Industrial Complex, they should be merger in to this article. NWH5305 07:00, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

This article now exists in Czech[edit]

can anyone add the m l mkpk




; please?

Do not merge this article[edit]

"Prison Industry" links directly to "Prisons in the United States," and the concept of the prison-industrial complex, a central component of arguments against the American prison system, should not be merely a footnote of the other article.

Do not merge this article[edit]

Prison-industrial complex is a term of art often used by activists against the prison system -- it has a unique connotative meaning not sufficiently covered by "Prison Industry," especially considering that, as the previous poster mentioned, it links directly to "Prisons in the United States." 23:56, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Do not merge this article[edit]

The whole point in the term prison-industrial complex is to draw an analogy to the military-industrial complex. Indeed, the analogy is very strong, though this article does not drive it home. The military-industrial complex has its own article and there should be a parallel article on the prison-industrial complex. I have verified that the two articles presently reference one another, as they should. ThomHImself 03:09, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree, and am taking the liberty of removing the merge tag, as no arguments have been presented for the merge. Abeg92contribs 14:47, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Do not merge this article[edit]

Prison-industrial complex is a concept itself. Cant be merged with another article. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Ciup (talkcontribs) 19:33, 12 March 2007 (UTC).

Someone redo this article[edit]

this article is of very poor quality. everything after: " 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...." needs to be redone. I wouldn't be suprised to find that our "prison-industrial complex" is in a sad state of affairs, but this article seems to being very narrowly represented by someone (or some people) who just want to state that our ""prison-industrial complex" is a bad thing. Helio462 15:00, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

I fail to see how that's POV. It seems like a factual statement. Is it excluding any groups from the list of organizations? Is it naming to many that don't fall in that category? Please explain. I just saw this article being discussed here. —Slipgrid 18:22, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

I can understand how you see that this is not a POV issue. The problem with this article really stems from the definition of "prison-industrial complex." "Prison-industrial complex" is not properly defined in this article at all. If you look at the article for "military-industrial complex", you will see that it is defined as "a close and symbiotic relationship among a nation's armed forces, its private industry, and associated political and commercial interests." Yet in this article prison-industrial complex is defined as "interest groups that represent organizations that do business in correctional facilities." I believe that the definition here should be broadened beyond the scope of interest groups and made to be more parallel to the definition of military-industrial complex, which is not the actual interest groups themselves, but is the existence of a functional relationship between the entity and private industry. Helio462 04:23, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

United States Prison Industrial Complex[edit]

The country with the biggest prison idustrial complex is the United States of America. In the book "Are Prisons Obsolete", Angela Davis describes how prisons have changed over time. She goes through extensive research to prove her point about the injustices within the prisons of the United States.. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:21, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

The user who claims that the United States has the biggest Prison Industrial Complex does not give any information to back up his statement, and gives a biased opinion when talking about which country has the biggest Prison Industrial Complex Jimmy2243

The phrase "biggest prison industrial complex" is nonsense because the term is used as an umbrella term for a whole suite of prison issues, typically the privatization of prisons, mandatory sentencing laws that increase conviction rates, inadequate education/mental health services, etc. However, the Wikipedia entry for "United States incarceration rate" does cite multiple sources to verify the claim that the US has the HIGHEST INCARCERATION RATE, as well as the highest prisoner population. (That entry is also under neutrality dispute, but the US Bureau of Justice Statistics (federal agency) stated as recently as November 30 2009 that the US has the highest incarceration rare.) Aecwriter AECwriter 19:56, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Headline text[edit]


The paragraph about conspiracy basis is completed loaded and slanted.

Poor Graph[edit]

The graph on this page does not take into account overall US population. If it factored in the growth from 1900 to present the incarceration increase would seem a lot less significant! -- (talk) 23:16, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

Uhhhh Really? Did the US Population Triple between 1980 and 2006? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:26, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

Did the US Population Triple between 1980 and 2006? Good question. I don't know. Why should I have to look it up and then plot my own graph? There is already a graph with the relevant data here: Since the prison population growth per-capita is the thing of interest that is the graph that should be shown.-- (talk) 21:14, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Prisons - Abolish or Reform[edit]

In her book "Are Prisons Obsolete", Angela Davis proposes abolishment of the prison system, not reform. Her premise is that if we agree that racism should not continue, and if we agree that prisons are racist, we cannot abolish one without abolishing the other.[1] Eng103critical (talk) 03:42, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

The term is used by both prison abolitionists and reformers. And people who themselves are unsure if they are either. Angela Davis (abolitionist) defined the term before Eric Schlosser (reformist). Davis describes the "prison industrial complex" as a structure of capitalist racism and co-founded Critical Resistance, a prison abolition group that was widely quoted in mainstream media articles on prison reform. [2] Critical Resistance's messages sometimes mixed abolitionist and reformist messages. In addition, Critical Resistance was presented as reformers by mainstream journalists who soft-peddled or were unaware of/confused by the group's true ideological stance. (Possibly intentional on the part of Critical Resistance, since the Associated Press and other mainstream news outlets would be inclined to exclude strident abolitionists from the debate.) For instance, "Books Not Bars," a slogan much-used by Critical Resistance, suggests a reformist position of redistributing prison funding to education, though the group's brochure states they are abolitionists. Neither Davis nor Schlosser take credit for the term "Prison Industrial Complex." Multiple bio summaries following Davis interviews say she "helped popularize" the term, which may be an understatement given that she made the term a centerpiece of a grassroots campaign over several years. [3] Aecwriter (talk) 17:24 11 May 2010 (UTC)

No hyphen for "Prison industrial complex"[edit]

The Wikipedia style guide for Hyphens states they should be used to link prefixes and that they should "disambiguate." I don't think "Prison-industrial complex" is any clearer than "Prison industrial complex." The Chicago Manual of Style and Associated Press guidelines (which go further in describing the hyphenation of compound modifiers) also do not support the use of a hyphen in this instance. "Prison-industrial" is not a compound modifier because they do not work together, as do the compound modifiers all-powerful ruler, self-reliant writer, and half-baked concept. "Compound words are two or more words that work together in a specified order." What else in this world could be described as "prison-industrial"? Would you say, "That's a very prison-industrial argument?" "Industrial complex" works together more than or as much as "Prison-industrial," therefore no hyphen. AECwriter 19:45, 12 May 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aecwriter (talkcontribs)

Part of the point seems to be that the term is analogized from the far more widely known military-industrial complex and thus follows that style. IIRC, the transcript of Eisenhower's Farewell Address places a hyphen between "military" and "industrial," as does the bulk of the relevant research in sociology, political science and others. The purpose of the hyphen in both cases is to portray prisons and industry in the one case, and the military and industry in the other, as equal partners in a political and socioeconomic complex defined by their complicity. It's also seemingly accepted in the literature by now and not likely to change. Finally, I would argue that prison-industrial does serve a disambiguating purpose vis-a-vis prison industrial as it removes the possibility that the reference is to industry endogenous to individual penitentiaries (e.g. among prisoners in their spare time), rather clarifying a reference to the power, commercial and societal interests that collude in the operation and administration of the penal system. smf (talk) 05:03, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

What about prison guard unions?[edit]

I'm not familiar with the formal writings on this topic, but from the casual conversation I've seen on the net, the prison guards unions are also a big component of the PIC. Particularly in CA. I wonder if this is excluded because someone was focusing too much on the prison franchises granted by the state, and ignoring what happens with "in house" prisons. (talk) 18:26, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

opposition to the Penticton Prison–industrial complex[edit]

Dennis Baker Penticton BC 250-462-3217 The Penticton Prison01/02/2011 I would like to address the prison issue on a couple of what I believe are pertinent interactive and overlooked points, and request public support for an environmental impact statement prior to construction of a prison! The suggestion that a prison be built as economic stimulus is accurate in the associated jobs, but at what cost? The perquisite Environmental Assessment would have to take into consideration the end product of prison incarceration process, The Prisoner. The perquisite Environmental Assessment would have to take into consideration the powers given to the prison employees “citizens” regarding punishments, and the following of signed international agreements regarding Rights and Privileges, of Prisoners. And The Citizens 1, a) the cost in California has been estimated at 40 % of GDP. That’s the tax payer YOU. 1,b) the alleged necessity of these prisons is the Harper Crime Bill , which as copied from California, demands minimum long term prison sentences for first time drug convictions. That meant long term incarceration facilities (prisons), were constructed to house thousands of new prisoners. The availability of narcotics in California has not diminished. The vast majority of these convicted drug prisoners are just addicts to illegal narcotics, fetching for someone to get a piece for their own use as drug addicts. Similar to an alcoholic offering another alcoholic, a beer, to go fetch a six pack, or tobacco addict offering another tobacco addict a couple of cigarettes, to go fetch a pack. The Prison Guards Union was found to be the advocates of this law and spent an estimated 8 million dollars on advertising when the law was to be voted on again by the citizens in a referendum, whom after the fact realised the folly of the mandatory minimum sentences, and ended it. I suspect the crash of a CIA rendition jet, with tons of Cocaine may have caused citizens to suspect that the government was imprisoning thousands of fellow citizens for the substances the government was delivering to them. 2, a > y) Prisons do not manufacture model citizens, anywhere at any time. 2, z) the purpose of prisons is to create fear in the citizens of the government, and a place to beat down into submission anyone caught not showing sufficient fear. That may manifest as criminal activity or many other things such as civil disobedience, protest, speaking out, and often even political opponents are imprisoned. Graduates of the Prisons are then prohibited from participating in society and employment. Then re-imprisoned, for trivial criminal code offences, often laws that are applicable only to citizens with criminal records. Occasionally one of these beaten dogs bite back! As was seen on CBC regarding Ashley Smith; she was asked to leave a cell, already restrained, wrist to waist. Placed in a reclining couch like apparatus that eliminates all body movement! Several Canadian Citizens have died in these modern versions of the torture cage. Alcatraz had a similar system only the prisoners were standing immobile between two sets of bars. She also had previously been tazered! Yes, she was a convicted criminal; she had thrown crab apples at a postal employee. And was treated as an equal with the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, tortured, and induced into suicide. Canada, has signed international agreements on the treatment of prisoners which include One person to a cell, No mixing of sentenced and not sentenced prisoners, one hour fresh air every day! Kamloops Prison KRCC as well as most prisons in Canada now has two or more to a cell, regardless mixing remand and sentenced prisoner. Profits’ are based on numbers to all suppliers to the prison. More prisoners equal more sales. The present Penticton city council includes several repeats from city council when the RCMP station was constructed. I informed them at that time of the basic right to one hour fresh air every day. Citizens are often held for several weeks in solitary confinement, in the Penticton RCMP cells, without fresh air. This clearly indicates the concern for the basic rights of Penticton citizens, and should be an indicator of similar considerations regarding a larger prison. It was you, your friends and family, whom Mike Pearce and Dan Ashton, denied “Penticton Residents”, of the most basic right of every prisoner on this planet. Fresh Air. Several Penticton citizens have died in the Penticton RCMP cells, how many proportional projected deaths in a Proposed Prison are too many? Since it takes 20 plus years to look at a wrongful murder conviction in Canada, no one looks at the frequency of wrongful convictions and sentences ranging from between one day and fifteen years. The proposed prison will also deliberately with malicious forethought violate these international agreements intended to prevent Human Trafficking by governments. Slavery discussed and disguised as public safety. 3,a) The BC Law Society has circumvented the process of Habeas Corpus,( produce the body), a right almost one thousand years old. In British Columbia without the signature of a lawyer/ notary, the Court registrars will not process a writ of Habeas Corpus to force the Province to justify an imprisonment in Supreme Court. Wrongful imprisonments are therefore without recourse or redress! 3,b) The Citizen has a moral and ethical responsibility to ensure the safety of our fellow Canadians! Every Royal Commission and/or Inquiry into the RCMP has come to similar conclusions that the RCMP Lie and are an out of control organization! The Prisons have approved methods of torture in Canada! Canada Ignores International Agreements regarding the Rights of Prisoners. Canadian Citizens are wrongly convicted. Why is Canada not on the UN Security Council, the present Police State does not promote security internationally or at home? Stephen harper and Stockwell Day has our soldiers rounding up children in Afghanistan to be imprisoned and tortured. Would some in Penticton benefit economically from a prison, sure? I am confident in stating many got rich in the communities which built concentration camps. Certainly the barbed wire salesmen did okay. Stockwell Day and The Harper conservatives will have a slogan next election. Vote for Harper and he will imprison thousands of you. Say No to the Prison by saying No to Stockwell Day on Federal Election Day! Say No to a prison by saying NO to Dan Ashton and Mike Pearce on Municipal Election Day! Your vote is the only thing that stops the planned, mass incarceration of Canadian Citizens!

Dennis Baker —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:06, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

This Article accurately explains the concept[edit]

I think the article was very informative and accurately depicts the concept of the prison industrial complex. I don't know how this article could be changed and still accurately capture the concept. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:27, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

Needs references[edit]

I started reading this page, and I'm very much concerned about the lack of references and accountability. If it's that serious a topic, then why on Earth leave giant conclusions and claims without any clue as to where they came from? Eddievhfan1984 (talk) 09:00, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

Checking for neutrality[edit]

I believe this article needs vetting for neutrality.

Source-less phrases like "The prison-industrial complex is an industry fueled by the continuous incarceration of minority groups" (found on section "race and gender") reek of disingenuous writing and race-oriented bias.

Assassin3577 (talk) 10:32, 27 July 2012 (UTC)


Removed section on Neoliberalism. It was a sloppily written opinion piece, added nothing to the article, and wasn't all that coherent. Whether or not Neoliberal ideology spawned the Prison Industrial Complex is a subject for political blogs, not an encyclopedia. (talk) 02:59, 30 July 2012 (UTC)MN

History section of this article[edit]

The history portion of this article posits that the prison industrial complex began in 1973 with the Rockefeller drug laws (citation needed). It seems more accurate to say that the exact term "Prison Industrial Complex" began to be used then. Historically there has always been a lot of crossover between private interests and the government oversight of prisons - this long history of private business activity around prisons is the real origin of the current "Prison Industrial Complex." Prison labor has benefitted private companies throughout history; land deals have benefitted private interests, etc. This article could have a much more interesting history section if the focus was expanded, and the narrow definition removed. [4] Cleshne (talk) 23:52, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

recent mass deletions of new edits[edit]

I've restored edits that are well sourced and pertain to the article. Any further attempts at mass deletion will be reverted.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 15:56, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

Try getting WP:CONSENSUS before making such a mass reversion -- See WP:BRD - your "bold edits" were reverted - it is now time to discuss them, not to simply knee-jerk restore them. Cheers. Collect (talk) 21:35, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
Why don't YOU get consensus before making such a knee-jerk and bold mass deletion? Your criticisms aren't even valid as the additions are well sourced (ACLU, NPR, The Nation) and are certainly relevant to the sections they were placed in (e.g., CCA's involvement in creating draconian legislation to imprison more immigrants in Arizona in the "immigration" section). You can't mass delete edits because WP:I just don't like it.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 01:38, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
Did you read WP:BRD? You made the major additions (which do not appear to be rationally sourced to places linking those companies to the article topic as stated) and so it is up to you to get consensus for retention of the stuff. Cheers. Collect (talk) 13:18, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
I think that the section Collect removed is not written in a neutral manner. It includes quotes by prison owners saying that profits are affected by incarceration rates, which is evidence that there is a prison industrial complex. To be neutral however we need to say something like, "So-and-so argues that the fact prison profits are affected by profits is evidence that there is a prison industrial complex." We should present arguments that others have made, not make the arguments ourselves. A discussion thread has been created for this article at WP:NPOVN. TFD (talk) 14:05, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I agree. I have commented at the noticeboard as well. Capitalismojo (talk) 15:50, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

horrid mess[edit]

A huge amount of the "references" and "external links" are not valid sources per WP:EL and WP:RS. A huge amont of text is "simply "anti-prisons" and has nothing to do with the term which specifically is about a profit motive -- if no such motive relates to a section, it does not belong. Additionally, stuff like youtube videos generally fails WP:RS, WP:V, and the use of them violates WP:NPOV. There is still stuff left which is polemic enough - but this article has lasted too long in an incredibly sorry state. Also the mountain of "see also" is not per policy - we do not simply add every thought which comes into our heads into such lists. Collect (talk) 14:01, 9 May 2013 (UTC) Collect (talk) 14:01, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

This is an enormous load of unrelated material. Is there some sort of school project going on? Capitalismojo (talk) 14:52, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
It got a "knee-jerk revert" to re-add it all (every single silly bit) -- but the second time only the material about specific companies was re-added. Still a horrid mess of an article, though. Collect (talk) 14:55, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

Ron Kuby[edit]

Just started looking at this article. I noticed the History section has a sentence by Ron Kuby about mandatory sentencing. But the sentence was not sourced. I looked for quite some time and could not find a source for it. However, the NY Times and the Nation carry an article by Judge Mark W. Bennett where he makes a very similar statement to the one attributed to Ron Kuby. The quote is "(mandatory sentencing) destroy families and mightily fuel the cycle of poverty and addiction. In fact, I have been at this so long, I am now sentencing the grown children of people I long ago sent to prison". I propose re-assigning the authorship of the statement and using the new source.--Luke Warmwater101 (talk) 05:35, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

It's been a while and there's been no comment, I will replace the quote with the new one which is sourced.--Luke Warmwater101 (talk) 04:01, 23 May 2013 (UTC)


Having tracked this article for three years, I have to conclude that it will be forever be weighed down with the polemics of people on a mission to tell the world that prison growth is purely profit-based, while also throwing in every other injustice related to prisons. The article has been corrected with a neutral tone three times and always drifts back toward dogma. Citations often do not support the sentences to which they are attached, or mention the "prison industrial complex" not at all.

I'm done contributing credible, neutral sentences to this article. Those that were not deleted only lend credibility to spurious claims.

I leave you with this:

In 2012, the Associated Press reported that the top three private prison companies "have spent at least $45 million combined on campaign donations and lobbyists at the state and federal level in the last decade," and that laws they supported primarily impacted private immigrant detention facilities for the federal government. By contrast, the pharmaceutical industry's lobbying contributions were $900 million in just seven years, and defense contractors have given $27 million in a single financial quarter.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about 8% of state prisoners and 18% of federal prisoners are housed in private facilities. The rest are in government facilities, which do as much cost cutting as any other government agency, and where swelling budgets are not welcomed. Mandatory minimums are being repealed in some states, and the prison population has been dropping slightly for several years.

Leave this article to rot. (talk) 09:41, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

Sentencing Reform Act?[edit]

The graph makes that look like potentially the start of a bigger spike in incarceration than even the drug laws, but no reason why or anything said of it or the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 and both articles on them are miniscule.--T. Anthony (talk) 12:10, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

Article Suggestion/thought[edit]

In the first paragraph under "History" before the sentence regarding the federal judge Mark W. Bennett it feels like there should be something there describing the intentions of the law before going into Benett's remarks of how it destroys families. It feels/reads very uneven or negative. Maybe it's just me.Shadowbolt7 (talk) 11:28, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Vera Institute of Justice survey[edit]

as part of my class project/research i came across this article/webpage talking about a survey done to find the budgets and costs of each state for housing prison inmates. Haveing a dollar amount/cost of housing inmates in states might be something to add just as another fact to consider. I'm not entirely sure at the moment if it would fit and where in this page but i thought i would post a brief summary on it and list the source/date/authors. (still a little new to writing/editing properly for wiki pages).

in 2011 The Vera Institute of Justice surveyed state correction departments to gather data on what the true cost of prisons were. Their reports showed that most states had additional costs ranging from one percent to thirty-four percent outside of what their original budget was for that year.

Christian Henrichson and Ruth Delaney

"The Price of Prisons: What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers"


webpage accessed 9/25/2014 Shadowbolt7 (talk) 07:06, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Wiki class project/additional sources[edit]

As part of a class project/research we are to add additional sources that we can find on this topic to the talk page and begin reading through and working on what we can find that may be useful to add to this topic. I have two sources that i will list here and be reading through as part of that project. If i do come across something that I think might be helpful I will post it here and perhaps with a little help/editing it may be something that will be useful to add onto the main page.

My Two sources i will be working on

Title: The perpetual prisoner machine : how America profits from crime /

Author(s): Dyer, Joel. Publication: Boulder, Colo : Westview Press, Year: 2000 Description: x, 318 p. ; 24 cm. Language: English Contents: A New Commodity -- The Crime Gap -- Violence for Profit -- Manufacturing Fear -- The Politics of Public Opinion -- The Weapons of War -- Collateral Damage -- Same Old Logic, Same Old Problems -- The Hidden Costs of Private Prisons -- Sidestepping the Restraints of Democracy -- Pulling the Plug. Standard No: ISBN: 0813335078 (alk. paper); 9780813335070 (alk. paper); 0813338700; 9780813338705 LCCN: 99-45576 Abstract: "In The Perpetual Prisoner Machine, author Joel Dyer takes a critical look at the United States' criminal justice system as we enter the new millennium. America has more than tripled its prison population since 1980 even though crime rates have been either flat or declining. If crime rates aren't going up, why is the prison population? The Perpetual Prisoner Machine provides the answer to this question, and shockingly, it has little to do with crime or justice. The answer is "profit"." "The Perpetual Prisoner Machine explains how the new prison-industrial complex has capitalized upon the public's fear of crime - which has its origins in violent media content - to help bring about the "hard on crime" policies that have led to our prison-filling, and therefore profitable "war on crime."" "Dyer concludes that powerful, market driven forces have manipulated America into fighting a very real war against an imaginary foe."--BOOK JACKET.


Authors: Thompson, Heather Ann

Source: New Labor Forum (Sage Publications Inc.). Fall2012, Vol. 21 Issue 3, p38-47. 10p.

Document Type: Article

Subject Terms: PRISON industries FINANCIAL crises LABOR supply WORKING class UNITED States Economic conditions ECONOMIC aspects

Geographic Terms: UNITED States

NAICS/Industry Codes: 561320 Temporary Help Services

Abstract The article focuses on the role of prison industry in the shrinking economy of the U.S. It states that because of the U.S. carceral crisis, the prison labor supply was considered and tapped by the law. It says that federal prisons have started the business of manufacturing textiles. Meanwhile, it suggests that there is only one working class in the U.S., whether one works beyond or behind the walls of prison.

ISSN: 1095-7960

DOI: 10.4179/NFL.213.0000006

Accession Number:82351793

Shadowbolt7 (talk) 05:50, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

Wiki class project:

OK, so as part of the class assignment we're supposed to find and post a total of three sources. My partner and I decided to try and do 2 each so that we would have an extra one to go off of for future research. So far I have only found one that I really like, and that I believe is recent enough to contribute solid contemporary information on the subject.

Title: Who's getting rich off the prison-industrial complex?

Author: Ray Downs


Document Type: Article

Subject Terms: Mass Incarceration For Profit Prisons Overcrowding

Geographic Focus: United States

General Overview: Downs goes into detail about certain individuals who have made huge financial gains off of for profit prison industries. Using stock market data, he showed that GEO group, and Corrections Corporation of America were the two biggest players in the for profit prison game. The article also links the growth of the prison-industrial complex to the war on drugs, and politicians of both major parties having vested interests in the incarceration of individuals for profit.

TomOlney End — Preceding unsigned comment added by TomOlney (talkcontribs) 02:31, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

Wiki class project/Summary Project/Work plan[edit]

As part of our class project we are to write a summary plan of what we will be working on to help improve the Wikipedia topic we have chosen. Below is a list of things we will be working towards adding or improving.

Topic Summary/Intro:

Try and find a simple/better explanation for what what the topic is. Smaller simpler words or or perhaps examples to include to explain to the readers who are unfamiliar with the topic or it's related material.

History: Any current news or updates on the topic within the last decade. Perhaps find any gaps in the history through the decades or critical events.

Economics: what specific groups are or would be interested in growing the prison industrial complex and how it affects them. Private VS government run and where the money goes. There are some facts/things noted in this section but it may be possible to expand a little in each area through it. The idea of free labor may need to be explained. What is it the prisoners may be doing or work that results in this (on top of the jobs that are already required for running the prison)(Prisoners working/crafting/producing goods to be sold by the prison).

Prison Abolition:

It mentions the movement of the group and part of it's focus on increasing funding of social programs in order to lower the rate of crimes. What other areas are they working on to shrink/remove this issue. If significant information is found that expands this section it may have to be done carefully as to not shift the page topic off course. It may be worthwhile to keep it written in such a way that for every event that is talked about involving the group how it impacted the prison industrial complex rather than risk focusing to much on the movement. It will depend on what information we find so will cross that bridge for discussion when we get there.


The first paragraph really need to explain how it ties into the main topic before jumping right into data/facts.

Crime and prison counts/rates:

Perhaps a section that connects policy's or the numbers of prisoners through the years that have come as a result of the prison industrial complex. This might be a little harder to narrow down as there are many other factors to consider.

Are there incentives or specific things given to private prisons that make them more attractive than a prison ran by the government? Regulations? Data between the two regarding costs and incidents (any inmates that are injured or reports that include damage to people or property).

Shadowbolt7 (talk) 13:46, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

Suggestions for revisions and expansions[edit]

It might be useful to add a new section (with subsections) that deals with the costs and benefits of a partnership between prisons and industry. Costs and benefits could include discussions of the economic, social, and criminal justice implications of these partnership. This could address some of the concerns about neutral point of view. Profmwilliams (talk) 19:08, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

Peer Review[edit]

This article is very well written and does a fair job at remaining neutral. There are a few areas that should be revised as previously pointed out by other comments on the talk page. The article is written in a way in which I remained interested during the whole read. One area that caught my attention is the Economics section. I think adding some statistics to validate what is said in the economics section would add a little more solidarity; statistics that explain how much profit is being made for industries from the PIC, how much are prison inmates actually being paid, and how much are the inmates actually working. Also, I think it would be beneficial to add more information from the point of view of the pro PIC perspective. — Preceding unsigned comment added by AEsquibel23 (talkcontribs) 23:49, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

I agree that the economics sections could use some work. I am currently working on a section that ties in with safety and health of prisons but also connects with some costs/economics about the decisions they make. I'll see what i can do to work on that. What i may do is split the cost portion of what i am working on into the economics section and add what i can in a new section for health and safety. My big hurdle is getting another source to back up what i had previously written (and what was taken down). In order to comply with Wikipedia guidelines i have to have more than one source for what i post( two source saying the same thing essentially, from what i understand). Shadowbolt7 (talk) 18:46, 7 November 2014 (UTC)


  1. ^ "Are Prisons Obsolete?" by Angela Davis
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