The Prison Industrial Complex

For-profit prison companies, businesses that supply goods and services to prisons, politicians who benefit by trying to appear "tough on crime", a misdirected "war on drugs" and other forces have merged to create the largest incarcerated population in human history right here in the land of the free - the United States of America. The articles on this page explore this issue.

Terminal Illness in Prison

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Bruce Reilly: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 2001 and 2011, cancer and heart disease were the leading causes of over 3000 annual deaths in state prisons.

Cage Complex: Why Is America’s Prison Population Soaring?

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Wendy McElroy: The “private prison complex” is a creation of crony capitalism through which privileged corporations are paid well for the “care” of inmates and for leasing out prison labor to other businesses.

Dying Inside: Lifers, the Dying and California’s Correctional Paradigm

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Jonathan Simon: Prison sentences must have limits to be rational and just and almost everyone agrees that California’s years of penal populism led legislators and prosecutors to produce sentences that having little relationship to either moral desert or risk.

In Black and White: African-Americans in the Criminal Justice System

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Justice is supposed to be color blind, especially in America. But is this really true? Blacks in the U.S. face overwhelming prejudice within the criminal justice system.

Movement Building and Challenging Mass Incarceration

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Raj Jayadev: Is it time for community members to work with an often overwhelmed public defender system to keep people out of prison in the U.S.? One organizer in California says, “Yes.”

California’s Radical De-Incarceration Experiment

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De-Incarceration: By managing offenders at the local level, California’s counties can develop solutions rooted in best practices.

Gavin Newsom for Criminal Justice Reform

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Lt Gov Gavin Newsom boldly offered a blistering critique of the criminal justice system and the willingness of too many in California to simply abide by the status quo

Children in Solitary Confinement

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Youth in Solitary: The U.S. is still the only country willing to allow its citizens to die in prison for crimes they commit as minors.

States Are Regretting Prisons for Profit

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Private Prisons Failing — If the private prison industry is being called out in Idaho, Arizona and Texas, it’s happening elsewhere.

Confession of a Drug Dealer

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Drug Dealer — My vision for post-prison was to help negotiate the peace. It is not a war on drugs, but a war against people.

41 Years in Solitary Confinement, Despite Three Overturned Convictions

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Albert Woodfox has been confined to solitary for over 40 years: animal rights advocates would be outraged if animals got such treatment.

3 Ways to Successfully Reform Criminal Justice

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California Policy Reform — In 2014, policymakers should develop solutions that reflect California’s most vulnerable populations.

New Laws to Help Californians Clean Up Their Records

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Criminal Justice Realignment : Having a criminal history can result in crippling and indefinite barriers.

Mass Incarceration, Mass Deportation

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Governing Through Crime — We must demand a full dismantling of both these legacies of the era of governing through crime.

How False Confessions and Wrongful Convictions Are Betraying U.S. Justice System

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It does not advance justice or public safety for an innocent person to go to prison and a guilty party to go free. Interrogations must be recorded from beginning to end to prevent false confessions and end this tragic flaw in our criminal justice system.

The New Jim Crow: California Prison Style

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Rosemary Jenkins: Over the last 30 years, our country has become number one in the world at having more people incarcerated at any one time (second only to what transpired during the reign of terror during Stalin’s regime).

LA County Jail Tour

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Nyabingi Kuti: After touring the LA County Jail I concluded that the condition were so inhumane that If the arrestees didn’t have mental problems when they arrived, there’s a good chance they’d develop mental problems before leaving.

What’s the Deal with Data?

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Kate McCracken: The limit of available data inhibits our ability to examine various justice trends and influence state and local policies.

LA County Board of Supervisors Mismanaging Realignment

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For mismanaging realignment in LA County, we are putting you “on probation.” We list for you the following five rehabilitation benchmarks that we expect you to meet over the next year.

Sara Kruzan’s Small Step

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Dick Price: Make no mistake, for Sara Kruzan—raised by a drug-addicted mother, gang raped and turned out as a prostitute at 13, sentenced to life without parole at 17 for killing that pimp—her release today on parole in Orange County after serving 19 years in prison is a big step.

Michelle Alexander, Justice on Trial Film Festival Hit Homeruns

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Sharon Kyle: “Unraveling this mass prison industrial complex is going to take more than a little tweaking here and there – this is going to take nothing short of a mass movement.”

Help Reduce Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

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Walter Moss: Let’s not just complain about our dysfunctional Congress. Let’s demonstrate that ordinary citizens still have a voice that matters in our democracy.

Justice-Involved Californians Deserve a Second Chance at Success

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Brian Goldstein: It’s time to ban the box. Applying for a job is tough, particularly in this challenging economic climate. For those Californians with a criminal history, the obstacles for getting employment often appear insurmountable.

The American inJustice System

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Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow” will be speaking at the Justice on Trial Film Festival at Loyola Marymount University on Oct 20th.

Michelle Alexander: A Moral Revolution

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Michelle Alexander: I have not been speaking publicly about the relationship between drones abroad and the War on Drugs at home.

Four Ways to Better Manage Jail Bed Space

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Kate McCraken: Counties that continue to rely on prisons and jails to contain their criminal element put unnecessary strain on their sheriffs. Criminal justice partners need to embrace county-specific interventions and apply community resources to reduce the use of incarceration and increase public safety.

Still Marching: 50 Years Later

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Bruce Reilly: Fifty years after the March on Washington, reports indicate we are more segregated than ever, with a greater class disparity than any country except India.

Panthers & Butterflies: Fighting Deportation, Detention, and Incarceration Together

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Unai Montes-Irueste: It is not only those who are undocumented who strain their wings constantly over the course of a finite life. It is everyone who has ever been stopped because of skin color, or sentenced more harshly because of it.

My Friend Todd Ashker: History of a One-Sided Dialogue

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Denis O’Hearn: Todd Ashker is a major mover in the movement for peaceful change in California’s prisons and on its streets.

Why the Gigantic, Decades-Long Drop in Black Youth Crime Threatens Major Interests

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Mike Males: Black Youth Crime rates have plummeted in the last 20 yrs, a distressing development for powerful interests. You won’t find that in any major-media report.

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