The Rise in the Prison-Industrial Complex

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Timeline of total number of inmates in U.S. prisons

Timeline of total number of inmates in U.S. prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities. From 1920 to 2006.

The Rise in the Prison-Industrial Complex (PIC) has been coined to attribute rapid expansion of the US inmate population due to political influence of private prison companies and suppliers to government prison agencies. PIC, a term borrowed from the Military-Industrial Complex that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of in his 1961 farewell address. Has the belief that imprisonment is the quick fix to society’s problems?

The current incarceration rate in the United States is the highest in the world. There are approximately 13 million people jailed in the U.S. each year. Six million are under supervision by correctional facilities. This means that one in 50 of our citizens are currently working their way through the U.S. prison system. The prison system includes those who are serving time, being placed on probation or being paroled. The Federal Bureau of Prisons state that most people being held in federal prisons have been convicted of drug offenses; specifically, most offenders are in prison for marijuana. At the present time, one out of every 100 people in the United States can be found serving time in jail.

Promotions of jobs created of prison building and the use of inmates for labor are cited as elements of the prison complex. Groups who promote this type of job creation often involve those whose motives are solely for profit versus the need for punishing or rehabilitating criminals or the reduction of crime rates. Those in opposition of this view believe that growth of the prison industry and incarcerated individuals has increased based on the sole desire of monetary gain.

This may explain the overcrowding of the prison system. While maintaining housing, food, security and medical care for six million of our citizens is causing a financial drain for many of our states, the leaders of the for-profit prison contractors are earning record profits. The prison business is a 70 billion dollar a year business in the U.S. The private prison corporations of Corrections Corp of America and GEO Group have presented proposals to 48 state prison officials. They are offering to buy and run their prisons for substantially less than they are currently paying.

However, there is a caveat; the prisons must have a minimum of 1,000 beds, and each state would have to legally commit to maintain at least 90 percent occupancy rates in their prisons for a minimum of 20 years. While this scenario might be a tempting offer for some states, the obligation to keep 90 percent of their prisons full would create the necessity to impose and maintain the most severe sentencing laws possible. Without this, the private prison corporations would not earn the high volumes of cash that their investors have come to expect.



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73 replies
  1. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    People need to take time out to figure out another way to make money. A way that is different from work or crime. If people read more, there wouldn’t be too many inmates.

  2. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    People need to stop insulting people. The kids are doing anything to avoid the mental abuse. People need to just shut up and leave people alone. Sometimes people end up jail because they don’t want to deal with the mental abuse. You family members and neighbors need to show respect.

  3. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    I don’t blame the government for the prison population. I blame television for manipulating the youth. You don’t need to commit crimes to be cool or successful.

  4. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    Material objects will not make you feel complete. Most people are manipulated by television to need objects to be happy. You don’t need objects to be successful. Criminals need to realized these things in order to stop commit ing crimes.

  5. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    Fashion is the reason people commit crimes now. Criminals need clothes to feel powerful. Clothes should be the last reason to commit crime. That’s why the population is rising now.

  6. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    I remember the government use to filter what was shown on television. The government stoped doing that and as a result society has gotten worse. The government really needs to filter what is shown on television.

  7. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    In order to reduce the prison population, the Government needs to re-educate people. I think if we had education program that taught people that doing bad things for entertainment is bad for society, the prison population will be reduced. People need to be re-educated.

  8. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    The media is causing the prison population to rise. The concepts they promote influence the youth to do bad things. That is why the prison system is getting worst.

  9. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    Most people are losing hope. Most people are doing bad things for attention because they believe it will make them successful. But, talent is what make you successful. When people realize talent and hard work make success, the prison population will go down.

  10. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    The prison system is rising due to misleading information. Young people tend to believe what they see on television. Television sends the misleading information. The information that the government needs to filter.

  11. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    I think people go to.jail because they are put into a situation. A situation where they can’t call for help. People should look for books to help or Google. That is what I did.

  12. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    The crime is going to continue to rise because nobody cares. That is the world we live in now. Nobody cares about your bills or your problems. Unless the government does a better job of keeping people informed with more ways to.make money, crime rates are going to rise.

  13. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    The world is.getting worse. People need to stop turning on each other. That is why we have so many inmates in prison.

  14. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    Rap music is not teaching people how to think. It is not helping people. The rap music that you hear on T.V. is not helping people. That’s not rap music. I think rap music is best when it’s heard on YouTube. Rap music is best when it is heard from people who rap about world events.

  15. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    I think blacks are in messed up situation to begin with. Blacks have to deal with a lot of behind the scene activity. The government need to teach people that there are other ways to do business. You don’t have to be a criminal.

  16. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    I think the government need to take time to educate people on how to make money. People who know nothing other then crime will result to crime. I think people need to.be re educated.

  17. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    The world should be less judgemental. People are so insulting that they forget that words turn people into monsters. I think people should stop insulting people so people can be good instead of bad.

  18. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    I think criminals who deal with family problems. They do not have too many choices. They would be better off going to school. When you in a messed up situation, you have to go to school or move out. Otherwise, you might turn into a criminal.

  19. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    Family is suppose to encourage kids to do better then them. But, it is not the case with some kids. Some kids have to deal with mental abuse. So, kids are trying to get out by doing crime.

  20. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    Family that treat their kids like shit is the reason behind so many inmates. Some people they are not told the right information because of family. Family can mess people lives up.

  21. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    Millions of people are ending up in prison and it’s sad to think about it. America is turning into a nation that thinks that punishment without education will fix the problem. We have a problem in United States. The problem is that the government I’d not teaching people how to make money.

  22. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    I think the government should create a program that teaches inmates how to make money on the web and offline legally. If you don’t teach somebody how to make money, they going to steal. The government need to do a better a job to fix this problem.

  23. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    The world has changed. People are not as nice as they were five years ago. People are acting stupid because of television. More and more people are ending up in jail because they do not know any better.

  24. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    I hope people who are in jail will learn their lesson and realize that anger is the reason you in jail. Some people need to learn that are other ways to make money. You don’t have to be a criminal.

  25. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    People are losing hope. The government is teaching people how to make money legally. So, people look at television and say “I’m going to do drugs.” Drugs is the only thing television show on T.V. there are other ways to make money. There are other legal ways.

  26. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    I think the prison system could be reduced if the government would filter that carp on T.V. People do not need to know certain things if they are not a criminal. That is why I think that television is bad for everybody. That is why people are going to jail.

  27. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    I think we should filter television in order to prevent people from going to jail. Television is the reason people are acting so stupid. The youth act stupid because of television. People do not understand that you suppose to do bad things for a cause. The world is losing it.

  28. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    Television is the reason there are so many people in prison. People need to stop watching television. Television teaches bad behavior. It’s not behavior that can be explained with reasoning. They teach that you should be bad for entertainment. That is not the way it is suppose to be.

  29. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    Discouragement causes people to do.bad things. If one is not educated or taught the right way of thinking, they will believe what they see on T.V. Then he or she will end up in jail.

  30. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    The economy is also a cause to the rise in the prison system. When they made that law about healthcare, a lot of people lost their jobs. People do not have any money. On top of being broke they have to deal with people that insult them because of social media.

  31. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    The prison system is rising because of social media. They portray such bad behavior but they do not put meaning behind it. Nobody should do bad things for entertainment.

  32. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    Some rappers like immortal technique will tell you that there is nothing fun about going to jail. He tells the youth the truth. Some of these rappers do not put meaning behind their words. They are not teaching people anything. I’m talking about the T.V. rappers that be rapping with words that you can not hear. Rap music needs to change if the prison system is going to improve.

  33. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    The rap music being shown on T.V. is not rap music. That music is making everything worse. People need to stop listening to them fake criminals on T.V. They are just trying to get people to do bad things. Rap music on T.V. is the reason the prison population is increasing.

  34. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    The prison system is rising because of rappers not putting time and effort into their lyrics. It’s not just rap music. What you listen to is what you think. T.V. rappers are brainwashing kids into thinking that going to jail is cool. So, more and more kids are doing bad things to go to jail.

  35. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    T.V. rappers are the reason the youth thinks that being bad is cool. They say things in their lyrics with out meaning behind them. Rappers use to say things with meaning behind them. You don’t shoot people for no reason. The rappers are just saying things without meaning behind them. The youth then becomes brainwashed into thinking that being bad and not making money is cool.

  36. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    The reason the prison system is rising is because of t.v. rappers. Every since the media aired the t.v. rappers, the youth has been brainwashed.

  37. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    The reason the prison system is rising is because of t.v. rappers. Every since the media aired the t.v. rappers, the youth has been brainwashed. Brainwashed into thinking that being bad is more important then making money.

  38. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    Fashion is another reason why there is so many inmates in prison. People think they need to have certain clothes to be cool. It use to be different. All you needed to be cool was matching clothes. But, times have changed thanks to television.

  39. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    Television is causing the inmate population to rise. People are being persuaded to do certain things in order to be cool. But, being cool does not help with bills. People are so stupid that they do not do bad things for money anymore. Not all people but most.

  40. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    The prison population is rising because the government gives out jobs that pay different amount. This creates jealously which creates anger. Anger cause people to resort to criminal activity. People need to stop depending on the government to do everything or find another way to make money. Otherwise, people are going to resort to criminal activity.

  41. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    The government is trying to compete with japan by making it harder for people to get a job. This cause many people to result to criminal activity. Some people are not smart enough to go to school. Some people do not have time to go to school. It’s not fair for people who are not mentally capable.

  42. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    Corporations are not spending money on jobs. They are not helping the economy. They have so much money that they can fix the job market. They are so evil. They are watching people suffer because they want to know what people are going to do about it. Either they will get smarter or they will result to criminal activity.

  43. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    The prison population is increasing because nobody is helping people look for a job. Nobody is helping people look for a job. People need help looking for a job or some way to make money. People are getting frustrated and resulting to criminal activity.

  44. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    Hate is bad for business. Hate cause people to become violent criminals. Hate causes people to do stupid things that can get them fired. The reason there are so many inmates is because there is too much hate in U.S. We need to bring the good times back.

  45. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    People have been brainwashed into having unrealistic expectations. They want things way too fast. People want to have what everybody else has. But, having things does not mean that you are accomplished. Television tells people that they have to have certain things in order to be successful. The truth is that all you really need is happiness.

  46. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    Nobody wants to take their time to do things. Everybody wants things to be done now. Everybody wants a car as soon as possible. Everybody wants to have a good job as soon as possible. Some people see criminal activity as a way to move up in the world faster so they take the chance. Television is really the cause as to why people act the way that they act.

  47. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    The government messed up the money. The government invested into the wrong countries and now we owe a lot of money to other countries. The government is not helping the country. The government is too busy trying to fight some holy war that makes no sense. People have no knowledge or leader to look up to so they resort to criminal activity.

  48. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    Prison population is increasing because people are losing hope. People are acting crazy and stupid. The job market sucks. Family is turning on one another. No body is doing crime for money reasons. The natural order of things is not being performed. We need respect to come back to United States.

  49. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    The government is lying about the economy. The economy is not doing as good as reported. The economy is getting worse everyday. I don’t know if people are trying to pretend like everything is fine. But, somebody needs to pull the plug and say “we have a problem.” Somebody needs to do it. The jobs are not as reliable as they should be. Somebody needs to teach people how to make money without a job.

  50. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    The prison population is increasing because the government does not teach people how to make money. When people can not find a job, they have to find something else to do. When they do not know anything other then what they see on T.V., they will use criminal activity. The government needs to teach people how to make money in order to save them from themselves.

  51. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    The cost of living is going up and people are not ready for it. Bills are getting higher and higher. People are getting scared because they do not know what to do. If you don’t ask the right question, you going to end up doing some criminal activity. Government need to teach people how to make money in order to reduce the inmate population.

  52. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    The job market is really bad right now. It’s so bad that people are becoming very cut throat. If you do not live in the right city, nobody will help you out. People are starting to lose it. They need money to survive. When a job is not there, they have to resort to what they know. If all they know is crime, they will end up in jail. Government needs to teach people how to make money.

  53. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    People talking behind your back is the main reason the prison population is rising. At first it doesn’t bother you that much. Then, it starts to annoy you because it makes you think that someone is out to get you. It really messes with your mind. It persuades you to get into trouble and feel a sort of angry feeling. This causes some people to resort to criminal activity.

  54. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    Television is the reason people are becoming criminals. People think it’s cool to start trouble for entertainment. But, bad behavior is bad for business. If people can not function together in a work environment. Then people are going to have to result to criminal activity. Criminal activity is mainly caused by anger and frustration. Bad behavior ruins people lives and persuade them to do things that they shouldn’t do.

  55. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    In United States, there is a lot of disrespect being performed. Disrespect is causing people to hate one another. It’s causing people to do nasty things at jobs. Things that cause some people to be jobless. I think rules need to be enforced in work places to prevent people from doing bad things to other people. I know these things will not be enforced due to the fact that nobody cares anymore. But, somebody needs to care. People don’t become criminals by choice. Not these days.

  56. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    The health care reform messed up the job market which caused more people to result to violence. The economy is very bad right now. The health care has caused many people to lose their job. The government requires that people working full time must have health insurance. Companies are not going to pay for it so they decide to give people part time jobs. The government makes people into criminals because of less money.

  57. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    Competition is the reason the inmate population is increasing. People have to compete for a job. People have to compete for gigs. People have to compete to get from point A to point B. There was always competition. But, there is too much competition. There is so much competition that people are having to result to drastic measures. Measures that are sometimes illegal or violent.

  58. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    The U.S. Economy is causing the inmate population to increase. People having a hard time finding a job. The bills still come in every month. People are getting scared and desperate. So they resort to violence.

  59. tgthewriter1
    tgthewriter1 says:

    It’s no surprise that the prison population is rising. The economy is in a terrible state. People are getting laid off left and right. Nobody talk about it anymore. But, people do not have any money and that causes a lot of people to resort to criminal activity.

  60. oportosanto
    oportosanto says:

    Of course they cannot pay for being incarcerated, but this system is clearly not working as too much expense is being generated to keep people in jail.

  61. Naturalbeauty92
    Naturalbeauty92 says:

    Breaking the law is inexcusable but come on now do we really expect prisoners to pay to be incarcerated. Can someone please inform on where they would get the money? The crime rate is at an all time high but the economy is the main reason. Too many people unemployed and trying to survive.

  62. jennifer belle fowler
    jennifer belle fowler says:

    The prisoners should be required to farm for their food and meat, and work and train for jobs and earn the state money instead of it being the other way, if we would send the drug cases to a program that works and put them in job training programs this would solve many problems, sending them to prison gives them a record so when they get out there is no chance to get a job in the community therefore sending them back to prison.

  63. oportosanto
    oportosanto says:

    The rise between 1980 and 2006 is mind blowing… Funny enough it’s the period when the cold war ended and all the mathematicians and physicist stopped to work on weapons and started to work in the financial markets…

  64. George Edwards
    George Edwards says:

    This makes no sense to me, due to the sheer magnitude of money involved. However, I understand that there is no better alternative at the moment, and thus we are stuck in a vicious loop. I would really like this to be a topic of discussion this election.

  65. Jasmine2015
    Jasmine2015 says:

    Who owns the prisons and profits off of them? I am always afraid that petty criminals may come out as more sophisticated criminals once they learn from the other criminals that are still serving time. If people wanted to take on the “war on drugs”, then the drug abusers need to be in some type of rehab. I also worry about people who may have a harder time being able to find jobs because of their history of being in and out of prison. In my opinion, lots of crimes are financially motivated and if a person had a job, they would be less likely to engage in crime. Having a job wouldn’t mean a person won’t engage in crime, just less likely. (Too bad I can’t say this for the politicians that have a job and still end up corrupt by getting involved with criminal activities involving money!)

  66. Eileen100
    Eileen100 says:

    The graph gives me chills, I wonder if the media has a role in the influence in violent behavior. I’m also wondering if the PIC (prison Industrial Complex) is privatized who owns them. Are there multiple owners? If there are multiple owners who have a stake in massive amounts of people going to jail and entering into the prisons. This is a huge red flag; I don’t see society as a whole being any better off from so many being held as prisoners. These people are not being rehabilitated because that is not what’s being promoted. The people who stand to profit the most out of the prison system should be the prisoners themselves; they should be rehabilitated properly.

  67. bonzer
    bonzer says:

    13 million people being jailed every year in US is staggering numbers. Though, rehab is welcome in prisons, the quantum of punishment for serious crimes must be enhanced and a massive social campaign on awareness of the same must be launched. A workshop consisting social scientists must be organized to find out ways and means of curbing criminal tendencies.

  68. tara12
    tara12 says:

    Our prisons are overfilling with prisoners nowadays that some have to be let out due to overcrowding. Our correctional system has become punitive oriented instead of rehabilitative. Most people do not realize that crime rates have actually significantly decreased the past twenty+ years in the United States. This can be partially due to the “war on drugs”. Another problem is people being arrested for violating parole or probation once for an insignificant reason.

  69. dlawes100
    dlawes100 says:

    Well, this explains a lot. I eas trying to understand how they can sentence people a long period of prison time that did minor things. People raped or murdered other seem to be getting out faster just kill and rape someone else.

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