Updated: Nov 7
The prison industrial complex is a term used to describe the overlapping interests of government and industry that use surveillance, policing, and imprisonment as solutions to economic, social, and political problems. The prison industrial complex has been criticized for perpetuating systemic racism in the United States. Source
The disproportionate arrest and conviction of Black people in the US is one of the examples of systemic racism in the criminal justice system. Angela Davis, a prominent scholar and activist, has written extensively on the subject of the prison industrial complex and its impact on communities of color. Source
The prison industrial complex has also been linked to the exploitation of prisoners for profit, which has led to the rise of private prisons and the use of prison labor. Source
The prison industrial complex is a complex issue that requires a multifaceted approach to address. Some of the proposed solutions include reducing the number of people in prison, investing in education and job training programs, and reforming the criminal justice system. Source
The Prison Industrial Complex and Modern-Day Slavery
At its core, the prison industrial complex refers to the ways in which government and industry look to policing, incarceration and surveillance as solutions to socioeconomic and sociopolitical problems. Put another way, it’s a symbiotic relationship between police departments, court systems, probation offices, transportation companies, food service providers, and many others; all of which ultimately benefit from maintaining incarceration. In theory, the goal of the justice system is just that: justice. However, the prison industry is deeply rooted in slavery and has, some argue, modernized state-sponsored slave labor.
Benefiting from the Prison Industrial Complex Under the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)
The workers are not only cheap labor, but they are considered easier to control. They also? Tend to be African-American males. Companies are free to avoid providing benefits like health insurance or sick days. They also don’t need to worry about unions, demands for vacation time, raises or family issues.