Prison Industrial Complex Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Prison Industrial Complex as Another Form of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

US sentencing policies are still lean which has led to the federal government to incarcerate so many people. There are too many criminals committing too many crimes, and this explains why we have too many prisoners. Currently, the government's prison is holding 200,000-armed robbers, 150,000 sex offenders and 100 murderers (Davis, 2008). These people are enough to make fill a city. Many people have been opposed to the idea that these people should be released form prisons. U.S. have the largest number of violent offenders despite the recorded decline in crime rate. However, the number of people sent to prison for committing violent offences has gone down during the prison boom. In 2010, over 50% of people being taken to prison were violent offenders. America has enormous prison populations because the courts are sentencing individuals who have not committed violent offences. These nonviolent crimes, in other countries, would be punished by fines, community service or would not be held as crimes. The U.S. is currently leading in the harshest form of punishment to prisoners. Research indicates that whichever the case in America's justice system, prison is the only solution (Schlosser, 2008).

Critical Discussion

The federal government has received numerous warnings and criticisms over its criminal justice system. The military industrial complex has been accused of acquisition of unjustified influence both unsought and sought. There is an increasing fear about the new threat to democracy as defense contractors, press and politicians have raised concerns over increased military spending. After declaring war on crime, the U.S. has adopted a prison industrial complex (Goldberg, 2009). This comprises a set of economic, political, and bureaucratic interests that led to increased spending on the prison industry without considering the actual need. The prison industrial complex is not based on conspiracies; it gives guidance to the country's criminal justice policy in prisons. It is created to serve some interests groups that have advocated for the unstoppable momentum gained by prisons. These groups comprise politicians both conservative and liberal who are using the concerns of crime to obtain votes.

The marginalized rural communities have become a market niche for development of prisons. Private prison companies view billions of money spent on correctional centers, not as a burden to taxpayers but an economic development. Since 2001, the rate of violent crimes has dropped by 30% while the number of inmates has gone up by sixty percent. Law experts argue that additional prisons must be created if the crime rate is increasing. Alternatively, if the rate of crime is going down, then it is because the prisons are too many. Therefore, if more prisons are created, crime rate will go down altogether (Gottschalk, 2010).

Inmates are the raw materials of the prison industrial complex: they include the homeless, the poor, drug dealers, alcoholics, drug dealers, and an array of assorted offenders. It is estimated that 70% of prisoners are uneducated. Perhaps 150,000 of this population are suffering from critical mental problems. It is believed that the mental health was responsible of handling such people and not the criminal justice system. Eighty percent of inmates have some element of substance abuse (Davis, 2008). Nonetheless, the number of drugs slotted to prisoners has been declining. Only one out of ten inmates is provided with drug treatment. Among people charged with violent times, there have been minor changes in the proportion of black American inmates. Among prisoners arrested for crime related to drugs, the population of African-Americans has tripled. Although the population of illegal use of drugs by white men is the same as among the blacks, blacks are ten times likely to be sentenced because of drug abuse. This has perpetuated to a situation whereby 50% of the inmates in U.S. prisons, are African-Americans. Two out of every five men are likely to be sentenced in the course of their lives (Guilbaud, 2010).

The prison industrial complex is a set of interest institutions and groups. In addition, it is a state of mind. The lure of financial gain has tarnished the U.S. justice system and replaced the idea of public service with the urge to obtain surplus profit. Government officials are extremely eager to pass tough laws on crime: also, they have demonstrated their lack of interest in disclosing the actual value of these laws. These have led to an array of financial improprieties (Pelaez, 2008). It is possible for the federal government to observe the internal processes of the prison industrial complex to find out when the boom began. This prison boom has succeeded in transforming the entire region's economy by allowing private prison companies to thrive. In some cities, trends in correctional centers have reached extremes as well as converged. In the psychological context, a complex refers to an overreaction towards perceived threats. From this perception, the U.S. has been urged to resist from the recurring feeling that some costly and spectacular practices could be the magic solution to the current social problems (Gottschalk, 2010).

How does Prison Industrial Complex affect people of color and is this a way to keep privatized prisons in business?

Imprisonment is perceived as the only resort for many people who commit social crimes because of their poor financial status. These problems have been grouped together thus forming a common term, crime. Crime has been attributed as a common behavior among people of color. Unemployment, homelessness, illiteracy, mental illness, and drug addiction are some of the crimes that disappear from public scenes when people associated with them are confined behind bars. Therefore, prisons have been created to perform magic. Alternatively, individuals who advocate for new prison tacitly and bonds to jails and prisons have been coerced to believe that prisons works magic. However, imprisonment does not make problems disappear; they only make human beings to disappear. Thus, the exercise of disappearing enormous number of people from racially marginalized, immigrants and poor communities has become a literal business (Goldberg, 2009).

When human beings disappear behind prisons, they convey an illusion of providing a solution to social problems, the population of people caged in prison is increasingly getting out of hand thus there is a need to design penal infrastructures. In order for imprisoned people to stay alive, they must be provided with products and services. These people must be kept busy all the time, and in some cases they are taken to detention centers. This means that prisoners must be deprived of all the meaningful activities (Schlosser, 2008). Huge numbers of shackled and handcuffed prisoners are shifted from state because they are transferred to federal prisons or another state. Long ago, the government was responsible for carrying out these activities. However, this responsibility has been recently extended to private corporations who work under the government. These corporations are simply known as correction centers formed under the industrial complex military. The dividends obtained from production of weapons and punishment industry adds up to social destruction. Considering the structural profitability and similarities of government linkages in public punishment, the expansion of the penal system has been characterized as a prison industrial complex (Davis, 2008).

The immense networks of jails and prisons are currently holding more than two million people. Statistics reveal that 70% of these locked populations are people of color (Schlosser, 2008). It must be acknowledged that Native Americans and black people are the fastest growing group of imprisoned people. The surveillance system is directly in control of more than five million prisoners including those on paroles and probation. Currently the population in prison has tripled compared to the prison population three years ago. Women add up to a very few percentage of the prison population. However, research reveals that the number of women behind bars has doubled since 1970. Imprisonment has become part of the current society and industrial democracy. When making the decision on prisoners who are destined for punishment, racialized assumptions are used by the political economy as a basis. It is believed that most black mothers reproduce black children who ought to be criminals. People of color are the primary raw material in the disappearance major crimes (Gottschalk, 2010).

After stripping the magic aura from the stereotype that prison provides solutions, other issues such as capitalist profit, class bias and racism are revealed. The prison industrial complex morally and materially impoverishes those imprisoned and ignores the social wealth required in addressing social problems. This has led to escalating numbers of imprisoned people. Currently, Prisons have concentrated their attention on the social framework while other government projects created to address social problems have been squeezed to extinction. Public education has deteriorated as security and discipline have been prioritized over education in public schools within poor communities: all these have been directly linked to the solution provided by prisons (Davis, 2008).

Prisons are currently proliferating in the society thus increasing income generated by the punishment industry. Because of their potential to generate profits, the U.S. economy is increasingly depending on the prison industry. The…

Cite This Research Paper:

"Prison Industrial Complex" (2013, January 29) Retrieved January 21, 2018, from

"Prison Industrial Complex" 29 January 2013. Web.21 January. 2018. <>

"Prison Industrial Complex", 29 January 2013, Accessed.21 January. 2018,