The Urban Politico is taking on the prison industrial complex in a new series. Below is an excerpt from Part I.
The Prison Industrial Complex refers to the interweaving of private business and government interests. Its twofold purpose is profit and social control. Its public rationale is the fight against crime. Using the same fear tactic that the right tends to use to justify there attempts at violating the constitution, the prison industrial complex is justified because we are told over and over how dangerous our society is and how unsafe we are in our own neighborhoods. We can then feel comfortable about locking up any and everyone who intimidates us.
Across the nation, thousands of new prisons are being built, as crime rates fluctuate from state to state. In the last 20 years, the state of California alone has constructed 21 new prisons while in the same amount of time, it has built only one new university. Another 5 new prisons are under construction and plans are in the works to build another 10. The question to ask though, since it is clear that prisons do not lower crime rates or deter crime in any way, is why are so many prisons being built? Why are they using today’s 3rd grade test scores to determine the number of future inmates that will exist? The reason is that prison is huge business in the United States. Throughout this three part series we will be taking a look at a number key components, which essentially fuels the Prison Industrial Complex in America. Social control, economics and globalization are the main factors that go into the creation of this epidemic, which disproportionately affects people of color.