Prisons & Prisoners Chapter 15

Prisons & Prisoners Chapter 15 - CHAPTER 15: THE...

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CHAPTER 15: THE CORRECTIONS INDUSTRY INTRODUCTION -opening private prisons is becoming a popular option for down-and-out towns -wage problem since private prisons do not pay as well as state prisons -corrections officials still had to turn to the private sector to house the overflow of the booming inmate population -1990s – 245 prisons were erected in 212 of the nation’s 2,290 rural counties CORRECTIONS AS INDUSTRY -research shows that trends in imprisonment are driven more by economic forces than crime rates -two prominent features of the economic-punishment nexus -tendency in a capitalist system to reduce labor -commerical features of the political economy -propel the corrections industry -proportion of the surplus population inevitably becomes snared -continued reliance on incarceration presents grave threats to democracy and social equality  PRODUCTION OF PRISONERS -contradiction of capitalism -economic marginalization of a large segment of society -surplus population from which deviance and crime is produced -state invests heavily in mechanisms of social control -political economy -CJ system = social control apparatus by protecting capitalist relations of production -most widespread underground economy is the illicit drug industry -created by the structural inequality of capitalism
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significant ironies due to the prevailing market forces -drug trade conforms to free world, free market, capitalist principles -costs attached to illegal drugs are contingent upon demand and supply -reducing the supply merely drives up the price of the drug -makes trafficking more profitable -attracting more individuals and groups -drug peddlers trading in risk -criminalization of drugs escalates rather than deters the drug trade -higher penalties increase the risk of selling drugs, making it more lucrative CORRECTIONS IN A MARKET ECONOMY -strapped towns induce jail and prison construction -offering land -cash incentives -cut-rate deals on utilities -in return, locals receive jobs and spur other businesses -Wall St. – where industrial corrections has created a bull market – evidence that crime does pay -corporate America has caught the scent of new public money -Dallas meeting – representatives from AT&T, Merrill Lynch, Price Waterhouse -attracted other capitalist heavyweights -competition getting into the business in reverse
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PRIVATIZATION OF CORRECTIONS -current trend in corrections is privatization -continues to draw intense debate among corrections experts
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Prisons & Prisoners Chapter 15 - CHAPTER 15: THE...

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