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Prison–Industrial Complex

The prison–industrial complex (PIC) is defined as a set of bureaucratic, political, and economic interests that encourage increased spending on imprisonment regardless of the actual need. The PIC dominates the narrative of prison building—constructing or erecting a prison within a municipality. Because local, state, and (frequently) federal politicians and agencies are intimately involved in the process, prison building is inherently a political act. Like the military industrial complex, the PIC consists of three interlocking sets of interest that collude to increase profit making from imprisonment. The three pillars of the PIC are the following: (1) politicians exploiting crime legislation to secure votes, (2) private companies seeking profits by serving or operating prisons, and (3) rural town leaders using prisons for economic development.

The PIC is central ...

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