Michael Ryan's Blog

A Nation of Prison Houses (Part 2) – Making a Buck in the Pig’s Pen

By Michael Ryan

A Nation of Prison Houses (Part 2) – Making a Buck in the Pig’s Pen[1]

In August, we looked at runway imprisonment in the U.S.  As disturbing as the numbers are, they are the logical extension of the general corporatization of prison – and it’s a heads we win, tails you lose situation for prisoners.  On the one hand, for example, corporate control of prison commissaries means prices that are inflated by as much as 100%.  As Chris Hedges tells us:

Keefe Supply Co., which runs commissaries for an estimated half a million prisoners in states including Florida and Maryland, is notorious for price gouging.  It sells a single No. 10 white envelope for 15 cents – $15 per 100 envelopes.  The typical retail cost outside prison for a box of 100 of these envelopes is $7.  The company marks up a 3-ounce packet of noodle soup, one of the most popular commissary items, to 45 cents from 26 cents.[2]

In one particularly egregious example of gouging, the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion-Ledger reports the Qur’an being sold for $58.95 – a copy purchased from Amazon would cost $13.  Bibles, on the other hand, are provided free to prisoners.  The upshot:  Keefe Supply Company “contracts with 800 public and private prisons and makes $1 billion each year.”[3]

And it doesn’t stop at the commissary.

As of 2012, about twenty states had contracted their prison health care to private companies.  Many county jails have done the same.  Corizon Correctional Healthcare, the largest prison medical provider, takes in around $1.5 billion in annual revenue with contracts for prisons in twenty-eight states and jails in numerous cities and counties. . . . In addition, the company has its own in-house pharmacy division, PharmaCorr.[4]

It comes as no surprise when Kerry Korpi of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees says: “Private correctional health care companies have a track record of cost cutting that puts both inmates and staff at risk.  These companies’ goal is profit, not public safety,” an assertion borne out by the $1.8 million paid by Corizon “to settle claims filed by Vermont prisoners from 2007 to 2011.”[5]

The same problems are found in food provision.  The largest food supplier to prisons is Aramark, which serves more than a million meals a day in more than 400 North American facilities.  These contracts are lucrative:  “A two-year contract with Ohio in 2013 paid out $110 million.  A similar agreement with Michigan was concluded for $145 million.”  What Aramark is taking in is impressive, what it’s providing, less so:  “In 2014 Ohio fined it $142,000 for various violations, including not hiring enough workers.  An $86,000 fine in Michigan in 2014 targeted shortages of food.  In both states, there were also several reports of maggots in the food.”[6]

Perhaps nowhere is the horrific nature of this corporatization more apparent than in the area of telecommunications, or in practical terms in the area of a prisoner’s capacity to maintain the family ties and friendships that will mitigate against social isolation and institutionalization and facilitate the prisoner’s eventual release into society.

James Kilgore tells us that “the annual value of the carceral phone business is estimated at $1.2 billion.”  In thirteen states, a prisoner will pay more than $5 for a fifteen-minute phone call.  For their part in maintaining these larcenous conditions, governments and institutions receive in excess of $460 million in kickbacks annually,[7] approximately 42% of the gross revenue.[8]  That just an average, though.  Securus, the second largest company in the prison telecommunications game, paid the state of Illinois an 87.1% commission to gain control of the state’s prison telecommunications.  This actually violated state codes, and the courts reduced the commission to 76%, or more than $3 of every $4 dollars prisoners spent on phone calls.  This amounted to $12 million dollars in 2012.[9]

In October 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stepped in and imposed a maximum 11¢ a minute rate.[10]  The companies providing telephone service were not happy, but they had, in any case, already begun to diversify.  For example, both Corrlinks and JPay “offer painfully expensive ‘email’ services” – prices run from “50 cents to $1.25 per message,” with messages limited to between 1,500 and 6,000 characters.[11]  The aforementioned Securus acquired JPay in 2015. As well as its e-mail business, “JPay handles financial transactions for 70 percent of prison inmates; its fees are as high as 35 to 45 percent of the money being sent.”[12]

The JPay acquisition is only one element in what is obviously an aggressive expansion bid on Securus’s part.  Securus has also branched out into video visitation in jails – to all intents and purposes, skyping.  While superficially this might look like a bid to facilitate contact; it’s just a cash grab.  Not only do Securus and the other corporations involved in the video visitation business (HomeWAV, TurnKey Corrections and Telmate, and its own subsidiary JPay)[13] charge users as much as $1.50 a minute, its video contracts often mandate a ban on face-to-face visits.[14]  A further wrinkle is that “most devices (phones, tablets, Macs) aren’t compatible with the video visitation software used in jails and prisons, so unless you’re on a Windows PC, your options are nil.”[15]

In 2013 and 2014, Securus “acquired two firms that specialize in providing the GPS-linked ankle bracelets used for monitoring”—Satellite Tracking of People (STOP), “the largest monitoring provider in the United States” and “General Security Services Corporation (GSSC), which, in addition to providing monitors, offers a range of other technology.”  This sector currently has “an estimated annual revenue of $300 million.”  As we saw in part 1, costs are simply passed on to those incarcertate:  “people wearing the bracelets have to pay a daily user fee ranging from $5 to $40.”[16]

Securus has also moved into the prisoner surveillance business “with the launch of THREADS, an analytical tool that . . . ‘examines billions of records to provide focused leads by detecting patterns, anomalies, linkages and correlations both inside and outside of prison walls,” with a particular focus on “detecting cellphones inside prisons and analyzing the calls.”  Securus’s surveillance role would presumably be greatly facilitated by its ConnectUs platform, which would “‘completely manage an inmate’s experience’ by overseeing not only phone calls and video visits, but ‘inmate forms, grievances, videos, commissary ordering, third-party website access, job applications, education programs and any number of services.’”[17]


The same corporations that profit from incarceration also profit from the super-exploitation of prison labour:

Food and merchandise vendors, construction companies, laundry services, uniforms companies, prison equipment vendors, cafeteria services, manufacturers of pepper spray, body armor and the array of medieval instruments used for the physical control of prisoners, and a host of other contractors feed like jackals off prisons.  Prisons, in America, are a hugely profitable business.[18]

In the federal system, the best paid prisoners might make $1.25 an hour working as subcontracted labour for “major corporations such as Chevron, Bank of America, IBM, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Starbucks, Nintendo, Victoria’s Secret, J.C. Penney, Sears, Wal-Mart, Kmart, Eddie Bauer, Wendy’s, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Fruit of the Loom, Motorola, Caterpillar, Sara Lee, Quaker Oats, Mary Kay, Microsoft, Texas Instruments, Dell, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin and Target.” While some state prisoners “run dairy farms, staff call centers, take hotel reservations or work in slaughterhouses” or – shades of the chain gang – “carry out public services such as collecting highway trash.”[19]

The government also makes use of this available pool of cheap labour, using it for “making clothes or mattresses for prisons, assembling telecommunications equipment for the Department of Defense, or, in the most iconic example, making license plates” – with the Department of Defense the main employer.  The reality is that these are the jobs held by most employed prisoners, and on average they are paid “from nothing at all to perhaps twenty-five cents an hour, though some clerical jobs may pay up to a dollar an hour.”[20]

Of course, prisoners are the dream employees:

Prisoners do not receive benefits or pensions.  They are not paid overtime.  They are forbidden to organize and strike.  They must show up on time.  They are not paid for sick days or granted vacations.  They cannot formally complain about working conditions or safety hazards.  If they are disobedient, or attempt to protest their pitiful wages, they lose their jobs and can be sent to isolation cells.[21]


The intrinsic extension of this corporatization is the “private prison.”  A lot of ink has been spilled on that particular subject, and far too much of it has the whiff of conspiracy theory.  The truth, however is, as Loïc Wacquant wrote in 2012:  “The private operators that benefit from the prison boom are minor players who exploit the bureaucratic rigidities of the state downstream, not strategic actors that impact penal policy upstream.”[22]  In 2015, James Kilgore put it this way:

Ultimately, private prison operators are bit players in a much broader drama directed by state actors.  A host of elected officials, “tough on crime” advocates and dozens of corporate interests . . . have used mass incarceration to advance a political agenda of criminalizing the poor and dismantling the social safety net of the working class.

To which he adds:

A quick look at the actual footprint of private prisons reveals how marginal they are.  Overall, private firms own or control just 9 percent of prison and jail beds in the United States.  The population in their facilities declined by 2 percent in the past year.  In terms of income, the combined 2014 earnings of CCA and the GEO Group, which amount to about 70 percent of private prison revenue, came to just over $3 billion – less than half of the state corrections budget of California.  The annual budget for the Los Angeles County sheriff’s office exceeds the revenue of CCA, the largest of the private prison companies, by about half a billion dollars.[23]

That is not to suggest that private prisons are not an issue requiring attention.  They most certainly are.  In 2014, Chris Hedges wrote, “Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the largest owner of for-profit prisons and immigration detention facilities in the country, had revenues of $1.7 billion in 2013 and profits of $300 million.”[24]  In 2015, James Kilgore would report that CCA and its closest competitor, the GEO Group, “pulled in about $3.3 billion last year running scores of private prisons and immigration detention centers.”[25]  That said, given the numbers we’ve been discussing, CCA is certainly a bit player:  “CCA holds an average of 81,384 inmates in its facilities on any one day.”  But it is a growing concern:  “Private prisons account for nearly all newly built prisons.  And nearly half of all immigrants detained by the federal government are shipped to for-profit prisons, according to Detention Watch Network.”[26]  In fact, in 2014, the Obama administration signed a no bid, four-year, $1 billion contract with CCA to build a massive prison to hold women and children asylum seekers.  “An ICE spokeswoman, Jennifer Elzea, said that the contracts for the 2,400-bed facility in Dilley and one for a 532-bed family detention center in Karnes City, Tex., given to another company, are ‘unique’ in their payment structures because they provide ‘a fixed monthly fee for use of the entire facility regardless of the number of residents.’”  This facility accounted for 14 percent of CCA revenue in 2015.[27]

The real private prison boom is occurring in the incarceration of immigrants, with the majority charged with “illegal entry” or “illegal re-entry.”[28]  James Kilgore tells us that private prisoners “control about 40 percent of the roughly 30,000 [immigration detention] beds.”  But even in the imprisonment of immigrants, private prisons are bit players:  “Ten times as many immigrants are housed in state and federal prisons as in detention centers.”[29]

There is, nonetheless, a lot of money at play in the private prison sector.  Market research conducted by the CRT Capital Group shows that “private prisons charge roughly between $50 and $75 a day for each immigrant they hold” and “make between 20 percent and 30 percent in profit on each bed.”  In 2010–2015, the CCA and GEO “made nearly $2 billion in revenue from their CAR [Criminal Alien Requirement] prison agreements.”[30]

These private prisons are plagued with abuse.  For example, the ACLU reported that “these prisons hold nearly twice the number of inmates in solitary confinement as other federal facilities,” with prisoners being placed in isolation for “complaining about food, medical care or filing grievances.”  In fact, writing in Fusion, Crisitini Constantini and Jorge Rivas report:  “The contracts reviewed by Fusion stipulate that 10 percent of the bed space must be in the solitary confinement wing.  That’s nearly twice the percent of inmates held in solitary across all Bureau of Prison facilities.”[31]  The ACLU’s multiyear investigation of private prisons also uncovered “overcrowded, unsanitary facilities, inadequate food and substandard medical care,” with Willacy County Correctional Center in southeast Texas being a particular standout.  The prison is entirely made up of “Kevlar tents filled with closely-packed rows of bunk beds with overflowing toilets, and plenty of bugs.”  Not surprisingly, “prisoners also face discrimination, verbal and sexual abuse from guards.”  In fact, “a PBS Frontline report last year found that undocumented immigrants had filed more than 170 allegations of sexual abuse against detention center staff.”[32]

As is the case with other corporations involved in the prison industry, the private prisons are diversifying.  “The GEO Group owns BI, the largest electronic monitoring company in the United States, and has taken over more than a dozen day reporting centers for people on parole in California.  CCA has also opened a re-entry division.”[33]


With the increasing corporatization of the prison system and the general trend of displacing the cost of imprisonment onto prisoners, release may not spell freedom.  Caitlin Munchick reports that many prisoners

are released into the “free world” with hundreds to thousands of dollars of debt.  This debt damages formerly incarcerated folks’ credit scores, which exempts them from some bank accounts, loans, mortgages, and rental housing that screens applicants by their score.  This, in conjunction with their criminal record that interferes with their employment applications and denies them access to public housing and government assistance like food stamps, makes successful reentry nearly impossible.[34]

Take the case of thirty-six-year-old Marcus Miller, who, when sentenced, “was saddled with $5,800 in criminal fines and fees.  By the time he was released . . . with interest, his debt had grown to $15,000—and continues to grow even now.”[35]  Depending on the state a prisoner lives in, “they risk paying late fees, accruing interest, losing their driver’s licenses, and being re-incarcerated.”  All fifteen of the states with the highest prions populations “arrest people for failing to pay debt,” with some jurisdictions even allowing individuals to “‘choose’ to go to jail as a way to reduce their debt.”[36]  Writing in the American Journal of Sociology, Alexes Harris, Heather Evans, and Katherine Beckett, who interviewed fifty former Washington State prisoners found that “nearly one in four . . .  reported having served time in jail as a sanction for nonpayment.”[37]

This accumulated debt also serves to politically disenfranchise former prisoners:  “formerly incarcerated people in at least 30 states are still barred from voting because they’re unable to fully pay their court-related fines and fees.”  The disproportionate imprisoning of blacks means that they bear the brunt of this stricture:  “an estimated 1.5 million African Americans are blocked from voting because they can’t afford their criminal debt.”[38]

This, however, is only one of the ways that prisoners and former prisoners are prevented from exercising their franchise.  In fact, “5.9 million citizens—2.2 million of them African-Americans—remain disenfranchised today.  One out of every 13 African-Americans is prohibited from casting a ballot in the United States.”  For example, people with felony convictions “in Kentucky, Florida and Iowa will be disenfranchised for the rest of their lives.”  While “only two states – Maine and Vermont – allow those currently in prison on felony charges to vote, and eight states even ban inmates with misdemeanors,” the fact remains that “most of those affected by these voting restrictions—75 percent—have already done their time and returned to the community.”  This mass disenfranchisement has serious implications:  “the American Sociological Association determined that ex-felon enfranchisement in Florida alone would ‘certainly’ have pushed Al Gore to presidential victory in 2000.”[39]

Lifelong marginalization doesn’t stop with voting rights.  In 1996, President Clinton signed what had started out as a Republican bill into law as the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, replacing welfare with the so-called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) grants.  As well as imposing a “five-year lifetime limit on welfare assistance,” it imposed a “lifetime ban on eligibility for welfare and food stamps for anyone convicted of a felony drug offense—including simple possession of marijuana.”  Clinton subsequently compounded the problem with his “one strike, you’re out,” an initiative that banned anyone convicted of a drug offense from public housing for life.[40]

All of this is compounded by the barriers to employment that a criminal record (or even an arrest record) can create.  Matthew Friedman of the Brennan Center reports:

A 2012 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, found that 86 percent of employers use criminal background checks on at least some candidates, with the majority (69 percent) checking all candidates.  In a similar 2010 survey by the same group, 31 percent of respondents said an arrest without conviction would at least be “somewhat influential” in their hiring decision.

According to a 2009 Justice Department study, “a past criminal conviction of any sort reduced the likelihood of a job offer by 50 percent.”  Unsurprisingly, the impact is “twice as large for black job-seekers as compared to their white counterparts.” [41]

The upshot is perhaps best summed up by lawyer and social justice activist Bryan Stevenson in his 2015 book Just Mercy:  A Story of Justice and Redemption.  In it he writes:

The collateral consequences of mass incarceration have been equally profound.  We ban poor women and, inevitably, their children from receiving food stamps and public housing if they have prior drug convictions.  We have created a new caste system that forces thousands of people into homelessness, bans them from living with their families and in their communities, and renders them virtually unemployable.  Some states permanently strip people with criminal convictions of the right to vote; as a result, in several Southern states disenfranchisement among African American men has reached levels unseen since before the Voting Rights Act of 1965.[42]


Clearly, no other First World nation can even hope to compete with the U.S. when it comes up to locking up its own citizenry; it is an area where the U.S. really can crow:  “We’re Number One.”  But a look at Canada shows some disturbingly familiar trends.  According to the Institute for Criminal Policy Research, in 2015, Canada held 40,663 people in prison, or 114 citizens per 100,000.  With the exception of a slight decline in 2005, Canada showed a steady increase in the number of people imprisoned from 2001 to 2013—from 35,533 to 41,026.  This growth outpaced population growth, with a rise from 115 to 118 per 100,000.  As we have seen, both of those numbers declined in the two years from 2013 to 2015.[43]  Looked at another way, Canada experienced a 17% increase in its prison population from 2005 to 2015.[44]

Before we start strutting with pride, we should consider that the same report tells us that of 221 countries reviewed, Canada imprisons a greater part of its population than eighty-four of them, including human rights luminaries like Myanmar, Haiti, Kosovo, Sri Lanka, Croatia, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Syria, Cote d’Ivoire, Yemen, East Timor, Sudan, Pakistan, Burkino Faso, and the Central African Republic.[45]

Imprisonment in Canada also shows a racial bias.  In 1996, then federal Minister of Justice Allan Rock acknowledged the problem: “Nationally, aboriginal persons represent about two per cent of Canada’s population, but they represent 10.6 per cent or persons in prison,” to which he added, “Obviously there’s a problem here.”[46]  Fast forward to 2016, and the Office of the Correctional Investigator tells us: “between 2005 and 2015, the Aboriginal prisoner population grew by over 50% . . . and the number of Aboriginal women in custody nearly doubled; although Aboriginal peoples represent 4.3% of the Canadian population, 24.6% of federal prisoners today are Aboriginal—and 35.5% of women in federal custody are Aboriginal; the incarceration rate for Black Canadians is three times their representation rate in Canada generally.”[47]

Catherine Latimar, a former director general in the justice system and a Broadbent Institute fellow, tells us that the “tough on crime” wave experienced under the Conservative Party Harper government generated many of the same problems the policy created in the U.S.  “In two separate reports, the auditor general criticized plans for managing prison population growth and the Correctional Services’ ability to prepare prisoners for release,” and in July 2015, “the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations called upon Canada to reduce prison crowding, limit solitary confinement, and improve access to treatment for mentally ill prisoners.”  Canadian prisons are at risk of becoming the “default institution for housing the mentally ill.”[48]

Costs are also climbing.  In 2014, the Edmonton Sun reported that “each prisoner in Canada’s 54 penitentiaries costs taxpayers $117,778, up 46% from a decade ago.  This means, a federal public safety ministry document tells us, that “federal corrections spending reached a peak of $2.7 billion in 2013, or $1.1 billion more than in 2002–2003.”[49]

Private prisons have failed to gain a foothold in Canada.  To date, there have only been two, and both are now public institutions.  GEO was the first company to build a private prison in Canada.  It built and managed “the Miramichi Youth Detention Facility in New Brunswick, but had its contract for the facility taken away in the 1990s after public protests against the incarceration of youth for profit.  The company still has a maintenance contract for the prison.”[50]  Subsequently, the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene, Ontario was operated by the U.S.-based Management and Training Corporation from its 2001 opening until the end of the first contract in 2006.  Ontario Community Safety Minister Monte Kwinter explained the decision to retake control of the prison:  “We found that in basically every single area, the outcomes were better in the publicly run facilities.”[51]

Post-prison outcomes in Canada show many of the problems we saw in the U.S.  The Public Safety Canada website presents a catalogue of difficulties facing a recently decarcerated person:

Offenders may have a history of social isolation and marginalization, physical or emotional abuse, poor employment or unemployment, and involvement in a criminal lifestyle that began at an early age.  So too may offenders be challenged by physical and mental disabilities and health issues that may be related to substance abuse and drug addiction.  Many offenders are challenged by skills deficits that make it difficult for them to compete and succeed in the community:  poor inter-personal skills, low levels of formal education, illiteracy or innumeracy, poor cognitive or emotional functioning, and/or a lack of planning and financial management skills.  There are also several practical challenges that must be faced by offenders at the time of their release, including finding suitable accommodation with very limited means, managing financially with little or no savings until they begin to earn some lawful remuneration, accessing a range of everyday necessities, and accessing services and support for their specific needs.[52]

Problems which they note are compounded by what they quaintly call “collateral effects”:

They may have lost their livelihood, their personal belongings, their ability to maintain housing for themselves and their family; they may have lost important personal relationships and incarceration may have damaged their social networks; they may have experienced mental health difficulties or acquired self-defeating habits and attitudes.  Homelessness, in particular, may place youth at risk of offending (Arnull, et al., 2007).  The failed reentry of prisoners into society involves some significant costs for society, both financial and in terms of public safety.  The costs of programs to support the reintegration of offenders must be assessed against the benefits of avoiding these significant future social and financial costs.[53]

While imprisonment in Canada is nowhere near the levels we see in the U.S., the trends are clearly in many ways the same, with the Harper government in particular having done its best to reproduce our southern neighbour’s disastrous prison program.


What makes imprisonment in a neoliberal society so important, beyond the pernicious effect it has on so many lives, is that it exposes the true cruelty at the heart of the neoliberal model.  Even the profits gained by a handful of corporations aren’t really the explanation; what those corporations represent is the neoliberal dictum that the maximum profit must be extracted from any social exchange.  What neoliberalism’s prison system ultimately exposes is the pointless cruelty at the core of neoliberalism.  The ideological conviction that would lead Any Rand to say “The punishment for pickpocketing cannot be the same as for murder – but the principle by which a specific argument has to be guided is retribution, not reform.  The issue of attempting to ‘reform’ criminals is an entirely separate issue and a highly dubious one, even in the case of juvenile delinquents.”[54]  The ghost of Ayn Rand haunts the modern prison system.

[1] I had intended to follow up the first part of this article, published in August, a week later.  Life intervened.

[2] Chris Hedges, “The Prison State of America,” Truthdig, December 28, 2014, accessed at:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_prison_state_of_america_20141228[3] Caitlin Munchick, “The Costs of Incarceration: How Prison Fees Maintain the Social and Economic Order of America,” Counterpunch, July 15, 2016, accessed at:  http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/07/15/the-costs-of-incarceration-how-prison-fees-maintain-the-social-and-economic-order-of-america/[4] James Kilgore, “Even in Government­Run Prisons, the Profiteering off of Human Lives Is Staggering,” Truthout, October 4, 2015, accessed at:  http://www.truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/33063-even-in-government-run-prisons-the-profiteering-off-of-human-lives-is-staggering

[5] Kilgore, “Even in Government­Run Prisons,” accessed at:  http://www.truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/33063-even-in-government-run-prisons-the-profiteering-off-of-human-lives-is-staggering

[6] Kilgore, “Even in Government­Run Prisons,” accessed at:  http://www.truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/33063-even-in-government-run-prisons-the-profiteering-off-of-human-lives-is-staggering

[7] Kilgore, “Even in Government­Run Prisons,” accessed at:  http://www.truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/33063-even-in-government-run-prisons-the-profiteering-off-of-human-lives-is-staggering

[8] Hedges, “The Prison State of America,” accessed at:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_prison_state_of_america_20141228

[9] Brian Dolinar and James Kilgore, “‘Carceral Conglomerate’ Makes Millions From Incarcerated, Their Friends and Families,” Truthout, February 13, 2015, accessed at:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/29095-carceral-conglomerate-makes-millions-from-incarcerated-their-friends-and-families

[10] Brian Dolinar, “Smear Tactics Backfire on CEO of Prison Phone Company,” Truthout, December 1, 2015, accessed at:  http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/33852-smear-tactics-backfire-on-ceo-of-prison-phone-company

[11] Mike Ludwig, “Prison Phone Companies Seek New Revenue Source in Electronic Messaging,” January 28, 2016, accessed at:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/34596-prison-phone-companies-seek-new-revenue-source-in-electronic-messaging

[12] Chandra Bozelko, “The Prison-Commercial Complex,” New York Times, March 21, 2016, accessed at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/21/opinion/the-prison-commercial-complex.html?emc=edit_th_20160321&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=73364733&_r=0

[13] Maya Schenwar, “Jail Video Visits Are No Substitute for the Real Thing,” Truthout, February 18, 2015, accessed at:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/29163-jail-video-visits-are-no-substitute-for-the-real-thing

[14] Dolinar and Kilgore, “Carceral Conglomerate,” accessed at:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/29095-carceral-conglomerate-makes-millions-from-incarcerated-their-friends-and-families

[15] Schenwar, “Jail Video Visits Are No Substitute for the Real Thing,” accessed at:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/29163-jail-video-visits-are-no-substitute-for-the-real-thing

[16] Dolinar and Kilgore, “Carceral Conglomerate,” accessed at:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/29095-carceral-conglomerate-makes-millions-from-incarcerated-their-friends-and-families

[17] Dolinar and Kilgore, “Carceral Conglomerate,” accessed at:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/29095-carceral-conglomerate-makes-millions-from-incarcerated-their-friends-and-families

[18] Hedges, “The Prison State of America,” accessed at:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_prison_state_of_america_20141228

[19] Hedges, “The Prison State of America,” accessed at:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_prison_state_of_america_20141228

[20] Kilgore, “Even in Government­Run Prisons,” accessed at:  http://www.truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/33063-even-in-government-run-prisons-the-profiteering-off-of-human-lives-is-staggering

[21] Hedges, “The Prison State of America,” accessed at:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_prison_state_of_america_20141228

[22] Loïc Wacquant, “The Prison is an Outlaw Institution,” The Howard Journal Vol. 51 no. 1 (February 2012): 5.

[23] James Kilgore, “Private Prisons:  Just Bit Players in Mass Incarceration,” Truthout, October 19, 2015, accessed at:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/33286-private-prisons-just-bit-players-in-mass-incarceration

[24] Hedges, “The Prison State of America,” accessed at:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_prison_state_of_america_20141228

[25] James Kilgore, “Five Corporations You’ve Never Heard of Are Making Millions From Mass Incarceration,” Truthout, January 19, 2015, accessed at:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/28501-five-corporations-you-ve-never-heard-of-making-millions-from-mass-incarceration

[26] Hedges, “The Prison State of America,” accessed at:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_prison_state_of_america_20141228

[27] Chico Harlan, “Inside the administration’s $1 billion deal to detain Central American asylum seekers, Washington Post, August 14, 2016, accessed at:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/inside-the-administrations-1-billion-deal-to-detain-central-american-asylum-seekers/2016/08/14/e47f1960-5819-11e6-9aee-8075993d73a2_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

[28] Leticia Cortez, “‘Operation Streamline’: The New Prison Boom,” Truthout, accessed at:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/28987-operation-streamline-the-new-prison-boom

[29] Kilgore, “Private Prisons,” accessed at:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/33286-private-prisons-just-bit-players-in-mass-incarceration

[30] Cristina Constantini and Jorge Rivas,“Shadow Prisons,” Fusion, February 4, 2016, accessed at:  http://interactive.fusion.net/shadow-prisons/index.html

[31] Constantini and Rivas,“Shadow Prisons,” accessed at:  http://interactive.fusion.net/shadow-prisons/index.html

[32] Cortez, “Operation Streamline,” accessed at:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/28987-operation-streamline-the-new-prison-boom

[33] Kilgore, “Private Prisons,” accessed at:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/33286-private-prisons-just-bit-players-in-mass-incarceration

[34] Munchick, “The Costs of Incarceration,” accessed at:  http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/07/15/the-costs-of-incarceration-how-prison-fees-maintain-the-social-and-economic-order-of-america/

[35] Libero Della Piana, “Free From Jail, Imprisoned by Debt,” Truthout, April 19, 2016, accessed at:  http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/35650-free-from-jail-imprisoned-by-debt

[36] Munchick, “The Costs of Incarceration,” accessed at:  http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/07/15/the-costs-of-incarceration-how-prison-fees-maintain-the-social-and-economic-order-of-america/

[37] Alexes Harris, Heather Evans and Katherine Beckett, “Drawing Blood from Stones:  Legal Debt and Social Inequality in the Contemporary United States,” American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 115 no. 6 (May 2010): 1783.

[38] Della Piana, “Free From Jail,” accessed at:  http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/35650-free-from-jail-imprisoned-by-debt

[39] Katie Rose Quandt, “1 in 13 African-American Adults Prohibited From Voting in the United States,” Bill Moyers & Company, accessed at:  http://billmoyers.com/2015/03/24/felon-disenfranchisement/

[40] Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow:  Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (New York: The New Press, 2010), accessed at:  https://peacelawandjustice.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/newjimcrow-ch-1.pdf

[41] Matthew Friedman, “As Many Americans Have Criminal Records as College Diplomas,” Truthout, November 23, 2015, accessed at:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/33758-as-many-americans-have-criminal-records-as-college-diplomas

[42] Bryan Stevenson, “The Collateral Damage of Mass Incarceration,” Truthout, April 29, 2015, accessed at:  http://www.truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/30487-the-collateral-damage-of-mass-incarceration

[43] Institute for Criminal Policy Research, “World Prison Brief,” accessed at:  http://www.prisonstudies.org/country/canada[44] Catherine Latimer, “How we created a Canadian prison crisis,” Toronto Star, October 4, 2015, accessed at:  https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/10/04/how-we-created-a-canadian-prison-crisis.html

[45] Institute for Criminal Policy Research, “World Prison Brief,” accessed at:  http://www.prisonstudies.org/highest-to-lowest/prison_population_rate?field_region_taxonomy_tid=All

[46] Graeme Hamilton, “Twenty years after federal government changed sentencing, aboriginals still disproportionately fill our prisons,” Montreal Gazette, August 4, 2016, accessed at:  http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/national/circumstance+sentence+enough+twenty+years+after+gladue/12003865/story.html[47] Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Critical Recommendations Issued by Canada’s Prison Watchdog, March 17, 2016, accessed at:  https://ccla.org/critical-recommendations-issued-by-canadas-prison-watchdog/

[48] Latimer, “How we created a Canadian prison crisis,” accessed at:  https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/10/04/how-we-created-a-canadian-prison-crisis.html

[49] Eric Thibault, “Federal Inmate costs soar to $117Gs each per year,” Edmonton Sun, March 18, 2014, accessed at:  http://www.edmontonsun.com/2014/03/18/federal-inmate-cost-soars-to-177gs-each-per-year[50] Daniel Tencer, “Prison Privatization: Canada Mulls Contracting Services To Companies Lobbying For Correctional Work,” Huffington Post, July 13, 2012, accessed at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/07/13/prison-privatization-canada_n_1670755.html

[51] “Ontario to take back control of private super-jail,” CBCNews, November 10, 2006, accessed at:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ontario-to-take-back-control-of-private-super-jail-1.586052[52] Public Safety Canada, “The Social Reintegration of Offenders and Crime Prevention,” January 19, 2016, accessed at:  http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/scl-rntgrtn/index-en.aspx#s4

[53] Public Safety Canada, “The Social Reintegration of Offenders and Crime Prevention,” accessed at:  http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/scl-rntgrtn/index-en.aspx#s4

[54] Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (Boston:  Dutton, 1995), 558-560.

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