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Prison Profiteers: Who Makes Money from Mass Incarceration

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In Prison Profiteers, co-editors Tara Herivel and Paul Wright “follow the money to an astonishing constellation of prison administrators and politicians working in collusion with private parties to maximize profits” (Publishers Weekly). From investment banks, guard unions, and the makers of Taser stun guns to health care providers, telephone companies, and the U.S. militar In Prison Profiteers, co-editors Tara Herivel and Paul Wright “follow the money to an astonishing constellation of prison administrators and politicians working in collusion with private parties to maximize profits” (Publishers Weekly). From investment banks, guard unions, and the makers of Taser stun guns to health care providers, telephone companies, and the U.S. military (which relies heavily on prison labor), this network of perversely motivated interests has turned the imprisonment of one out of every 135 Americans into a lucrative business. Called “an essential read for anyone who wants to understand what’s gone wrong with criminal justice in the United States” by ACLU National Prison Project director Elizabeth Alexander, this incisive and deftly researched volume shows how billions of tax dollars designated for the public good end up lining the pockets of those private enterprises dedicated to keeping prisons packed. “An important analysis of a troubling social trend” (Booklist) that is sure to inform and outrage any concerned citizen, Prison Profiteers reframes the conversation by exposing those who stand to profit from the imprisonment of millions of Americans.


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In Prison Profiteers, co-editors Tara Herivel and Paul Wright “follow the money to an astonishing constellation of prison administrators and politicians working in collusion with private parties to maximize profits” (Publishers Weekly). From investment banks, guard unions, and the makers of Taser stun guns to health care providers, telephone companies, and the U.S. militar In Prison Profiteers, co-editors Tara Herivel and Paul Wright “follow the money to an astonishing constellation of prison administrators and politicians working in collusion with private parties to maximize profits” (Publishers Weekly). From investment banks, guard unions, and the makers of Taser stun guns to health care providers, telephone companies, and the U.S. military (which relies heavily on prison labor), this network of perversely motivated interests has turned the imprisonment of one out of every 135 Americans into a lucrative business. Called “an essential read for anyone who wants to understand what’s gone wrong with criminal justice in the United States” by ACLU National Prison Project director Elizabeth Alexander, this incisive and deftly researched volume shows how billions of tax dollars designated for the public good end up lining the pockets of those private enterprises dedicated to keeping prisons packed. “An important analysis of a troubling social trend” (Booklist) that is sure to inform and outrage any concerned citizen, Prison Profiteers reframes the conversation by exposing those who stand to profit from the imprisonment of millions of Americans.

30 review for Prison Profiteers: Who Makes Money from Mass Incarceration

  1. 4 out of 5

    Raegan Butcher

    Essential reading for anyone who wonders why this country has more of its citizens incarcerated than any other country on earth.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Rector

    Hard read for those brave enough to want to know the truth about what really goes on in our prisons and how they are yet another way for the wealthy to make money.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Annhett

    I've only just started this book, but it's already making me mad. I knew it would. I finished this book. It is quite eye-opening. Everyone should read it. I've only just started this book, but it's already making me mad. I knew it would. I finished this book. It is quite eye-opening. Everyone should read it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Abby

    very interesting....i learned a lot of things I did not know about prisons and specifically the privatization of prisons

  5. 5 out of 5

    CTEP

    I read Prison Profiteers: Who Makes Money From Mass Incarceration. This book explores the prison industrial complex, specifically looking at how the rehabilitative side of the prison industry has increasingly fallen to the wayside in lieu of the money to be made off of prisoners and the prison system. While the book covers a wide variety of issues associated with prisons, one of the issues it explores quite a bit is the increasing privatization of prisons. Private prisons, unlike government pris I read Prison Profiteers: Who Makes Money From Mass Incarceration. This book explores the prison industrial complex, specifically looking at how the rehabilitative side of the prison industry has increasingly fallen to the wayside in lieu of the money to be made off of prisoners and the prison system. While the book covers a wide variety of issues associated with prisons, one of the issues it explores quite a bit is the increasing privatization of prisons. Private prisons, unlike government prisons, exist to make a profit. With that, corners are often cut. Guards are often paid very little and are consequently not as experienced for the challenges they face. Further, mental health and medical services are often substandard and the regulations/checks/balances are often unenforced or ignored. This endangers not only the lives of the guards, but can significantly damage prisoners. The book also looks at how prisoners are used as labor, often being paid forty cents an hour or less. A lot of corporations rely on such cheap labor, and the ability of some corporations to pay extremely low wages has ramifications in terms of the ability of other companies to compete. The book also look at million dollar blocks, a term used to describe the phenomenon of certain neighborhoods being identified as producing large segments of the prison population. These blocks cost taxpayers one million dollars or more per year in housing, feeding etc prisoners. With the mapping of such blocks, social researchers have begun asking why this money is not being spent on the front end to make the neighborhood better and reduce the poverty, lack of education, etc that is so closely tied to crime. This book looks at a wide variety of other issues associated with prisons and I would definitely recommend it to other CTEP members. I work with a decent number of people who have at one point been incarcerated and it was upsetting to read about the ways in which they are taken advantage of, given substandard medical/mental health care, and then thrown back into the world with grim job and housing prospects. -- Jade Rosario wrote: Prison Profiteers: Who Makes Money from Mass Incarceration is a collection of articles from 16 authors who look at the economics of the industrial prison system and the repercussions of the privatization of the prison system. Some of the articles look at the economics of the overall prison system while others are case studies on specific prisons, rehabilitation/education programs, or aspects of the system- weapon contracts, food and heath issues. The overall report of the book is that privatization of prison have been made possible by the acts of publicly elected politicians who have helped prisons to become a big business in America, a system where there are incentives to more incarcerations and longer sentence, where prisoners are seen as a great source of cheap labor, as well as a market base that can be controlled and manipulated so that other corporations can make a profit. I found this book pertinent to the my work at PPL because some of the participants that I work with have been incarcerated at some point in their life. Given that there are so many challenges and stigmatism that ex-offenders face while looking for jobs (and just living their lives) I think its important to have a knowledge of how there are institutionalized systems that work against those who make mistakes in their lives and that the punishment is often much greater than the crime. This is not to say that all offenders got the short end of the stick- but I think that reading this book added to the sincere compassion I have for those who are on track to make a better life for themselves.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Isaiah Washington

    This novel had opened my mind about private prisons and all of the corrupt actions they are carrying out. If it weren't for this book, many people wouldn't have knowledge on how unconstitutional these prison are. I am angered at how they treat their prisoners, even though they have committed serious crimes. Being attacked and not aided to when needed is morally wrong and I'm glad these prisons are being shut down. The book does a good job organizing their arguments and informing the reader howe This novel had opened my mind about private prisons and all of the corrupt actions they are carrying out. If it weren't for this book, many people wouldn't have knowledge on how unconstitutional these prison are. I am angered at how they treat their prisoners, even though they have committed serious crimes. Being attacked and not aided to when needed is morally wrong and I'm glad these prisons are being shut down. The book does a good job organizing their arguments and informing the reader howe serious it is.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brea Grant

    this is a great book full of essays by different authors about the private prison system and the american prison system as a whole. you can kind of scan through and see what interests you but the whole book is great. particularly interesting chapters include info on the private health care systems (or lack thereof) in prisons, treatment of juvenile inmates (not so great), if prisons actually do help the local economy (hint: THEY DON'T), and christian groups within the prison system (hint: SCARY) this is a great book full of essays by different authors about the private prison system and the american prison system as a whole. you can kind of scan through and see what interests you but the whole book is great. particularly interesting chapters include info on the private health care systems (or lack thereof) in prisons, treatment of juvenile inmates (not so great), if prisons actually do help the local economy (hint: THEY DON'T), and christian groups within the prison system (hint: SCARY).

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sage $J EVHS Sweeney

    Heavily discusses some of the monetary issue within the prison industry. Boring but informative.

  9. 4 out of 5

    John Wimmer

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jamiles Lartey

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kymberli Ward

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

  13. 4 out of 5

    Beth Beardsley

  14. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Law

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sam Phillips

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sebastian

    learned a lot about how private prisons are not a positive thing.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Beau

  18. 5 out of 5

    Reclaimthefields

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dakota Sagnelli

  20. 4 out of 5

    larry Butler

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ivy

  22. 4 out of 5

    Guinevere Norman

  23. 5 out of 5

    Morgan Dreiss

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dante Penington

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sven Haynes

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kweli

  27. 4 out of 5

    Yohanan EliYah

  28. 4 out of 5

    Wilma

  29. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

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