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Prison Profiteers - Punch and Jurists 2008

Punch and Jurists, Jan. 1, 2008.
Book Review - Prison Profiteers - Punch and Jurists 2008

From "Punch and Jurists," Volume 15, Nos. 4 & 5.

Prison Profiteers

Paul Wright, the Founder and Editor of Prison Legal News, and Tara Herviel, Esq., a public defender from Portland, OR, have collaborated to publish an excellent anthology of articles about the workings of the prison-industrial complex in America, entitled "Prison Profiteers: Who Makes Money From Mass Incarceration." The authors have complied a series of essays and articles chronicling the numerous and convoluted ways profits are made off the criminal justice system.

Reading this book helps one understand why America’s insane experiment with mass imprisonment is driven largely by corrupt politicians, the guard unions, and the many industries that benefit from a constantly growing prison population - often secretly and without any accountability. One essay, entitled "Prisons, Politics and the Census," notes that a new prison has opened in a small town every fifteen days over the past decade.

Another essay entitled "Private Health Care in Jails Can Be a Death Sentence" shows that the prison health care system is based on profits and kick-backs; but, from a medical viewpoint, is a disaster.

Prison Profiteers can be ordered on the PLN website at

It provides a startling answer to a question posed by the Pew Foundation’s Report: why does America have the largest prison population in the world?

Answer: Because so many people make so much money off the backs of American prisoners there is no incentive even to consider alternatives to mass incarceration that may work better and more cheaply!

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