OSR Journal of Student Research


The traditional system of justice in the United States, based on the goals of retribution, incapacitation, rehabilitation, deterrence, and restitution, has been replaced with a corporate model of mass punishment based on profits, expediency, and the exploitation of free labor. This corporation is known as the “Prison- Industrial Complex,” and is made up of an enormous, interweaving system of correctional institutions, profit-driven corporations, and politicians (Davis, 1998; Schlosser, 1998). Some question whether the creators of the Prison-Industrial Complex could have predicted or anticipated the outcome of their actions (Reinarman & Levine, 2004). I will show their actions were in fact orchestrated to produce certain results. Corporate executives and politicians are well educated, intelligent people. The Prison- Industrial Complex did not just happen by chance. It was all planned out. The goal of the PIC is not the social good of imprisoning the minimum number of inmates possible for the least amount of time necessary to maintain public safety, deter crime, and rehabilitate offenders. Rather, the PIC profits from having as many prisoners as possible for as long as possible, and housing and caring for them as cheaply as possible. Our criminal justice system has been hijacked to increase the wealth and power of the corporate state, as well as to replace low-to mid-range jobs lost to military downsizing and corporate outsourcing.