Punishment for profit: The economics of mass incarceration

Prison Reform Movement's Weblog- America: Land of the Free, Home of the Incarcerated

By Joyce Chediac

“Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today — perhaps the fundamental fact, as slavery was the fundamental fact of 1850.” (“The Caging of America” by Adam Gopnik)

PrisonThe excessive arrests and unjustified long-term imprisonments of mostly people of color, and the devastating effects these measures have on whole communities, have been exposed and denounced by community, religious, human rights, legal and advocacy organizations, and individual researchers.

Then why is it so hard to stop?

Because for a very powerful few, mass incarceration is not a bad thing at all.  It is the source of fabulous profits.  For them, prison equals profits.

The total cost to government of incarceration is $70 billion a year. The privately run prison industry, which feeds on mass incarceration, is one of the fastest growing and widest reaching of U.S. industries. In…

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