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Prison Profiteers - Booklist 2008

Booklist, Jan. 1, 2008.
Book Review - Prison Profiteers - Booklist 2008

Issue: March 1, 2008

Prison Profiteers: Who Makes Money from Mass Incarceration.

Herivel, Tara J. (Editor) and Wright, Paul (Editor)

Jan 2008. 344 p. New Press, hardcover, $26.95. (9781595581679). 365.

Prison is big business, from contracts for construction and food and health service to transportation and providing guards. Prisoner rights advocates Herivel and Wright offer a collection of essays examining every aspect of incarceration and economics, from the effect on rural economies (jobs and higher population counts for the census) and urban economies (the social effect on poor neighborhoods with an
overabundance of men rotating in and out of the prison system). Banks and brokerage houses provide the financing, and contractors provide everything from Tasers to aspirin. Lobbyists supporting prison-related industries influence federal and state governments with an eye toward profits more than criminal justice.

Contributors analyze the exploitation of prison labor to support the military and the effect on free-market interests. Beyond the economics, contributors examine the “commodification” of prison culture, including the influence on hip-hop music and linkages between faith-based programs and prison privatization. This is an important analysis of a troubling social trend that has not been widely publicized.

— Vernon Ford