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Moving
Target
A Decade of Resistance to the
Prison Industrial Complex

A Justice Policy Institute Report to commemorate
the 10th anniversary of Critical Resistance
September 2008

About the Authors
Amanda Petteruti is a researcher and policy analyst with approximately seven years of
combined experience in education and criminal justice policy. Early in her career, she
organized a writing program for youth at the National Campaign to Stop Violence and
provided general support to the National Juvenile Defender Center. Prior to joining the
staff of the Justice Policy Institute, she conducted research on issues pertaining to urban
education at the Council of the Great City Schools. Petteruti earned a Master of Arts
in education policy and leadership from the University of Maryland College Park and
a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Bates College. Petteruti has contributed to several
reports related to education policy and co-authored The Vortex: The Concentrated Racial
Impact of Drug Imprisonment and the Characteristics of Punitive Counties and JPI’s Public
Safety Policy Brief series.
Nastassia Walsh is JPI’s research assistant. She joined JPI shortly after earning her
Master’s Degree in forensic psychology from Marymount University, where she studied
psychological principles in the law and injustices in the criminal justice system. She
started her education by earning a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and justice
studies from Arizona State University. Walsh has co-authored several reports while at
JPI, including Maryland’s Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentencing Laws, The Consequences Aren’t Minor, and JPI’s Public Safety Policy Brief series. Walsh is an active volunteer
at Opportunities, Alternatives and Resources (OAR) of Fairfax County, Virginia, an
organization that aids both incarcerated adults and people recently released from jail in
their re-entry process to help break the cycle of incarceration.

Acknowledgments
This report would not have been possible without the generous support of the Open
Society Institute and the Drug Policy Alliance.
This report was written by Amanda Petteruti and Nastassia Walsh, and edited by Sheila
Bedi, at the Justice Policy Institute. JPI would like to thank Kati Guerra, Aaron Teskey,
Andy Denison and Anisha Mehta for their invaluable research assistance. Special thanks
to Emily Sydnor for her media analyses and Jason Ziedenberg for helping to conceptualize the report. We are indebted to Rachel Herzing and the staff of Critical Resistance
for their critical insight. The report was copy edited by Sarah Baker and designed by
Lynn Riley. JPI staff includes Sheila Bedi, Debra Glapion, LaWanda Johnson, Laura
Jones, Amanda Petteruti, Emily Sydnor, and Nastassia Walsh.

2	

Moving Target: A Decade of Resistance to the Prison Industrial Complex

Contents
2	introduction
6	10 YEARS BY THE NUMBERS: Imprisonment, crime, policing and spending
over the last decade
		
		
		
		
		
		

The system expands
The target shifts: Prison growth slows, while jail populations multiply
People of color continue to be overrepresented in prisons and jails
The PIC continues to absorb millions of our tax dollars
Crime is at nearly the lowest point in the last 30 years and continues to fall
Crime still affects certain communities disproportionately

10	PROFITING FROM PRISONS: A risky proposition for both corporations
and communities
		
		

13	

States and corporations profit from the labor of people who are imprisoned
Prisons fail as an economic development tool

POLICING: Accountability, federalization and surveillance

		
		
		
		
		

Policing the police: The public supports police accountability
The increasing federalization of the police and crime
Overall expenditures for policing continue to increase
Surveillance has increased from the borders to neighborhood streets
Specialized police forces multiply and target specific crimes and populations

19	THE PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX IN ACTION: An analysis of the
criminalization of drug use, poverty, mental illness, and immigration
		
The war on drugs
		
Militarization of police is largely driven by the drug war
		
Criminalizing poverty and homelessness
		
Immigration and the perceived threat of terrorism
		Reducing reliance on the criminal justice system?: Media, public opinion, and political
agendas are beginning to shift toward addressing social problems outside the
criminal justice system

30	PREVENTION: We know what works to strengthen communities
		

		

33	

CONCLUSION: Looking Ahead

		
		
		

36	

Funding for positive public safety expenditures still lags
Mental health treament
Substance abuse treatment
Prevention
We know what works to increase public safety

Specialty prisons
Onerous parole conditions
Drug courts and other specialty courts

Endnotes

Introduction

“The pandemic of fear and distrust, laced with
contempt for enemy classes devoid of redeeming
qualities (i.e., “people who hate freedom”), and
combined with the growing number of paychecks
attached to social control, undermines our collective willingness and ability to imagine “A World
Without Prisons,” let alone organize the local and
transnational effort required for its creation.”
Geoff Ward, Criminal Justice Professor
at Northeastern University1

For the past 10 years, Critical Resistance has helped
advocates imagine the possibility of a world without
bars. By questioning the necessity and effectiveness
of the very foundations of our criminal justice system—incarceration, surveillance, policing—Critical
Resistance has furthered the notion that nothing can
“fix” the criminal justice system. Instead, if our country is to truly reclaim its communities, the criminal
justice system must be dismantled. There is no “fix”
for a system built on racism and fear and actualized
through the social control of the poor. As a result
of Critical Resistance and other groups’ community
organizing, activists and stakeholders throughout
the country recognize that there is no correlation
between crime and punishment in this country and
safe and vibrant communities.
Despite evidence that investments in prisons and policing are not effective in increasing public safety, the
prison industrial complex (PIC) continues to consume considerable governmental resources. In fact,
history shows that states that increase their funding
for the PIC do not necessarily see crime rates drop
any more than states that do not. More specifically,
we now know that increasing prison and jail populations does not produce lower crime rates.2 Yet the
United States appears determined to cling to incar-

ceration—the one thoroughly studied and disproven
method of sustaining healthy communities.
So if the criminal justice system is not really about
creating safe communities, what is it? Critical Resistance answered this question by developing its analysis
of the prison industrial complex or PIC. The prison
industrial complex is a complicated system situated at
the intersection of governmental and private interests
that uses imprisonment, policing, and surveillance
as a solution to social, political, and economic problems. The imprisonment crisis in the United States
and the continued failure to invest in policies and
programs that build on the strengths of our communities cannot be attributed to racism, media hysteria,
or corporate greed alone. The complex interaction of
these factors (and many others) has created a reality in
which more than seven million people live under the
control of the criminal justice system.3
The prison industrial complex clearly manifests all
the inequities that still exist in the United States.
With one in nine black men ages 20 to 34 behind
bars,4 the disproportionate involvement of people
living with mental illness and substance abuse, the
use of the criminal justice system to enforce immigration laws, the skyrocketing imprisonment rates
for women, and the specific targeting of poor communities, the system is molded by the forces of racism, able-ism, xenophobia, sexism, and classism. All
modern day struggles for justice are implicated in
criminal justice reform efforts because the current
system magnifies all the ways in which the United
States of America fails many of the people who live
within its borders. But the success of the burgeoning
national movement to decarcerate and divest from
prisons and other negative public safety investments
reveals a promising potential for real change.
While a national movement to resist the prison industrial complex has grown, the PIC has flourished and, in
some cases, shifted its shape. Prisons remain an important target for the resistance movement, but jail populations have dramatically increased and their growth far

2	
			
Moving Target: A Decade of Resistance to the Prison Industrial Complex

surpasses annual prison growth.5 Federal and state governments continue to lavish police departments with
resources—with a 77 percent increase in funding over
the past 10 years.6 And the complex forces of racism,
media hype, and a stalled economy have contributed
to the criminalization of immigration.
Many industries still profit from the United States’
addiction to incarceration. Although the private
prison industry has not grown at the rate once expected, it is still a profitable, politically connected
industry. In 2000-2001, Corrections Corporation of
America’s (CCA) stock plummeted, but now in 2008
it is steadily increasing.7 Indeed, private prison companies are betting that they will continue to make a
profit, because in their view there is limited momentum for sentencing reform. Some politicians also remain enamored of the private prison industry. In his
2004 state of the state address, former Republican
National Committee chairman and current governor
of Mississippi, Haley Barbour, hyped his commitment to private prisons and announced the reopening of a formerly shuttered facility that is run by
CCA. Related businesses that provide telecommunications, food, and other contractual services to prisons and jails continue to turn serious profits. Perhaps
most disturbing is that, in the post-industrial United
States, politicians tout prisons and jails as economic
development tools.
The prison industrial complex has become increasingly federalized. Funding for federal police resources
has increased by 57 percent over the past eight years8
and is justified by the federal government’s focus on
fighting terrorism and enforcing immigration laws.
But the federal government has also been busy creating new reasons to incarcerate. From 2000 to 2007,
Congress added 454 new offenses to the federal
criminal code.9 Not surprisingly, this increase in federal crimes coincided with a 32 percent increase in
the number of federal prisoners.10
Technological advances have driven the growth of
police surveillance tactics. As cameras have become
less expensive and more advanced, police departments across the country target poor neighborhoods with surveillance cameras. Sixty percent of
all police departments nationwide use some form
of mounted surveillance camera,11 despite the lack
of evidence that these cameras decrease violence in
our communities. Video surveillance is a $9.2 billion industry—a tremendous waste given the sorts
of resources we could flood our communities with
for that amount of money.12
		

Challenging the Prison Industrial Complex
During the past 10 years, efforts to dismantle the prison industrial
complex have taken various forms:
•  Mothers of children in Louisiana prisons led a first-of-its-kind
effort to close down a horrifically abusive juvenile prison and
formed Family and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children
(FFLIC), a powerful advocacy organization that continues to lead
the juvenile justice reform movement.
•  Grassroots Leadership has developed numerous successful
campaigns throughout the Deep South that have reduced the
number of private prisons in that region.
•  Members of the Community in Unity Coalition, including Critical
Resistance of New York City, built a powerful coalition that defeated a proposal for a 2,000 bed jail in the south Bronx.
•  Copwatch chapters have sprouted up coast to coast, providing
communities with the tools they need to hold police officers accountable for abuses of power. Community-based movements
revealed the powerful economic drivers behind imprisonment.
•  In New York, the Campaign for Telephone Justice took on the
telephone companies and significantly reduced the financial
burdens families incur when trying to stay connected to their
incarcerated loved ones.
•  The Southern Center for Human Rights and the Alabama
Women’s Resource Network used a class action lawsuit over
inhumane conditions in an Alabama women’s prison to launch
a campaign to close an overcrowded and dilapidated women’s
prison. As a result of this advocacy, a recent Alabama legislative
task force endorsed a plan to reduce the number of incarcerated women in Alabama by investing in community services
and regionally-based alternatives to prison. Sustained media
campaigns throughout the country have turned the tide of major
editorial boards that now rally behind “treatment not incarceration” for people struggling with substance use and that decry
the incarceration of people living with mental illness.
•  In Mississippi, children who survived serious physical and emotional abuse while incarcerated repeatedly testified before the
legislature and helped convince lawmakers to permanently
close the facility in which the most horrific abuses occurred.
•  Critical Resistance and its allies across the country have engaged
social justice advocates from diverse fields in the struggle to dismantle the PIC. These dynamic partnerships frequently include
educators, environmental justice advocates, and members of
organized labor and the faith based community.

Justice Policy Institute	

3

Introduction

The media remain a vibrant force in both creating
and dismantling the prison industrial complex. Media sensationalism creates public panic about crime
and safety, but a comparison of crime reporting and
crime rates indicates that the media overhype the
existence of crime in our communities and do not
reflect the realities of public safety. The war on drugs
provides an important example of how the media fuel
bad public policy. Studies show that media reports
overwhelmingly focus on the need to “get tough” on
drugs and rarely discuss the failures of these policies
to increase safety in our communities. The media almost wholly ignore the fact that, according to the
federal government, whites and African Americans
use drugs at the same rate. Yet African Americans are
imprisoned for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of
their white counterparts.
The war on drugs remains a vital force of the prison
industrial complex. The stark racial disproportionality of drug imprisonment rates suggests that drug
policy is laden with overt racial bias. An examination
of drug war funding reveals the federal government’s
relatively minimal investment in programs that actually help people kick their addictions, especially
when compared to the billions of dollars poured into
the PIC in the name of the drug war. The federal
Office of National Drug Control Policy spent twothirds of its budget during FY 2008 on law enforcement and interdiction, and it invested only one-third
on drug treatment and prevention.13 This allocation
of resources directly contributes to the disproportional imprisonment of African Americans for drug
offenses. Whites generally have greater access to drug
treatment than do people of color and they are admitted to drug treatment at more than twice the rate
of African Americans.14
Police departments have become increasingly militarized as a result of the continued war on drugs. Police paramilitary units or SWAT teams now exist in
90 percent of the police departments that serve communities with more than 50,000 people.15 These units
are responsible for some of the most controversial and
deadly police practices in use today. During several
botched drug raids, SWAT teams have killed innocent
people, including a 92-year-old woman in Atlanta.16
Drug use is just one of the perceived social problems
that PIC proponents try to solve through more prisons
and more policing. Government entities struggling to
address homelessness, mental illness, and immigration have also turned to the prison industrial complex
with failed results. In these contexts, the PIC targets
4	

Moving Target: A Decade of Resistance to the Prison Industrial Complex

with law enforcement strategies and imprisonment
specific populations that have been deemed undesirable. For example, policies that criminalize homelessness have their origin in the “broken windows”
theory. This theory suggests that unkempt neighborhoods attract a criminal element, so crime can be
controlled by a rigorous enforcement of “quality of
life” ordinances that regulate panhandling, sleeping
in public, and other public order offenses. There is
no evidence that incarcerating the homeless increases
public safety, but since formerly incarcerated people
frequently struggle to find a job or stable living situation, it is certain that incarceration is a destabilizing
force that will likely serve only to exacerbate the very
conditions that contribute to homelessness.
Jailing Communities: The Impact of Jail Expansion and
Effective Public Safety Strategies, a recent Justice Policy
Institute report, documents that 60 percent of the jail
population lives with a mental health disorder, compared to 10.6 percent of the general population.17
People living with mental illness are swept into the
criminal justice system because of the failures of the
public mental health system and the lack of adequate
treatment in most poor communities. As a result, prisons and jails alike function as the largest psychiatric
facilities in the country. In some states, jails actually
function as quasi-mental health crisis centers. In Kentucky, Mississippi, Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, and
New Mexico, jails are specifically authorized by state
statute to hold individuals who are awaiting a bed in a
mental health facility. While the PIC is resource-rich
in many ways, prisons and jails are ill-equipped to
meet the complex needs of people living with mental illness. Incarceration itself can contribute to the
decompensation of many people with mental illness.
There is some evidence that policymakers have begun
to pay attention to these phenomena and are focusing
efforts on strategies that will end the criminalization
of people living with mental illness. The long-term
success of these initiatives has yet to be evaluated.
Policymakers have injected the PIC with significant
resources to address the perceived immigration crisis in the United States. The number of U.S. border
police has skyrocketed during the last decade—from
fewer than 4,000 in 1990 to more than 10,000 currently patrolling the border.18 Since 1995, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has increased by more
than 200 percent the number of people it incarcerates.19 The immigration-related expansion of the PIC
is fueled by xenophobic and racist media coverage of
the immigration debate that uses false, inflammatory
rhetoric to link immigration with crime. In reality,

the number of undocumented immigrants increased
from 19.8 million in 1990 to 31.1 million in 2000.20
During the same time that immigration increased,
crime rates plummeted to some of the lowest in U.S.
history. Despite the extremely tenuous link between
immigration and public safety, the PIC has deeply
ingratiated itself into the immigration debate.
Despite the apparent intransience of the PIC, evidence exists that in some instances policymakers and
the general public are beginning to question the efficacy and fairness of the United States’ reliance on
prisons and policing. A poll revealed that in 1994
only 48 percent of the public supported interventions that addressed the underlying causes of crime
such as poverty and lack of education, whereas in
2002, 65 percent of the public supported these sorts
of interventions over stricter sentencing.21 This shift
in sentiment comes at the same time that crime is at
its lowest point in 30 years. Policymakers’ willingness to rethink our reliance on incarceration is likely
informed by the documented failure of prisons and
jails to contribute to safe communities. According to
the most recent data, 67 percent of people released
from prison were re-arrested within three years of
their release, and 51 percent were re-imprisoned for
either a parole violation or a new conviction.22 With

		

“When we look back at supposedly civilized
societies in the past, we are amazed at how
complacently they accepted such obvious evils as
slavery, child labor and torture. Surely, people in
centuries hence will be similarly astonished at our
own moral blind spots. But what might they be?
After a little reflection, you may wish to hazard a
guess. Here’s mine: punishment by imprisonment.”
Jim Holt, New York Times Magazine23

such dismal success rates, it is no wonder that some
policymakers are seeking alternative ways to invest
criminal justice dollars.
Investments in education, employment, mental health
services, and substance abuse treatment not only have
proven to be far more effective at creating safe communities than PIC-related expenditures, but also cost
far less. An emerging trend in states throughout the
country is the increase in positive public safety investments and the development of alternatives to the traditional criminal justice response of imprisonment.

Justice Policy Institute	

5

10 YEARS BY THE NUMBERS: Imprisonment, crime,
policing, and spending over the last decade
The system expands
Consider a world in which a country’s entire population is under the control of the criminal justice system—either imprisoned or on probation or parole.
The prison industrial complex has created this reality.
More than seven million people—a number equal to
the population of Israel—live their lives under the control of the criminal justice system in the United States.
Without question, during the past decade, the criminal
justice system has ensnared an ever growing number
of people—growing at an overall rate of 20 percent.24
The number of people in prison has increased by 30
percent and the jail population has grown 32 percent

1998

7,000,000

2007*

4,3
66
,82
5,0 6
35
,22
5

8,000,000

6,000,000
5,000,000

6,1
83
,75
7
7,4
10
,84
0

In 2007, there were more than 7.4 million people under
the control of the criminal justice system.

2,000,000
1,000,000
0

Number
of People
in Prisons

Number
of People on
Probation/
Parole

Number
of People
in Jails

Total

*2007 numbers are as of June 30, 2007. Probation and parole numbers
are from 2006; 2007 numbers are not yet available.
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Key Facts at a Glance: Correctional
Populations,” www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/tables/corr2tab.htm;
William J. Sabol and Heather Couture, Prison Inmates at Midyear 2007
(Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2008), www.ojp.usdoj.
gov/bjs/abstract/pim07.htm; William J. Sabol and Todd D. Minton, Jail
Inmates at Midyear 2007 (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics,
2008), www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/jim07.htm.

6	

The target shifts: Prison growth
slows while jail populations multiply
More than a decade ago, the prison population was
growing at a rapid pace with increases of almost 5
percent seen annually. In recent years, the growth
of the prison population has slowed.25 This may be
because jails are now the driving force behind incarceration in the U.S. Between 2001 and 2006, the
jail population grew at twice the rate of the prison
population,26 but the relative slow growth of the
prison population may also reflect some government
entities’ realization that imprisonment fails to create
healthy communities.

People of color continue to be
overrepresented in prisons and jails

59
2,4
62
78
0,5
81

3,000,000

1,2
24
,4
1,5 69
95
,03
4

4,000,000

since 1998. At the same time, the number of people
on probation or parole has increased by 15 percent.
This massive growth in the number of people involved
in the criminal justice system has detrimental effects
on state and local budgets, on public safety, and on the
7.4 million people under criminal justice control.

Moving Target: A Decade of Resistance to the Prison Industrial Complex

African Americans and Latinos bear the brunt of the
increased use of prisons and jails. A recent report by
the Pew Center on the States found that one out of
every 100 adults in the U.S. is behind bars, but one
out of every nine African American men between the
ages of 20 and 34 and one out of every 36 Hispanic
adults is imprisoned.27 According to numbers from
the Department of Justice, African Americans are
now more than five times as likely and Latinos are
more than twice as likely as whites to be housed in
a prison or jail.28 Although African Americans and
Latinos combined make up only a third of the U.S.
population, they constitute almost two-thirds of the
prison and jail populations.

The yearly increases in the number of people in federal
and state prisons has slowed but is still growing
significantly.
6%
5%

5.0%

4.5%

4.5%

4%
3%

2.6%
1.9%

2%

2.0%

1.8%

1.2%

1%
0%

2.7%

2.0%

1.6%

1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007*

*2007 numbers include only the first 6 months of 2007.
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Key Facts at a Glance: Correctional
Populations,” www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/tables/corr2tab.htm;
William J. Sabol and Heather Couture, Prison Inmates at Midyear 2007
(Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2008) www.ojp.usdoj.
gov/bjs/abstract/pim07.htm; William J. Sabol and Todd D. Minton,
Jail Inmates at Midyear 2007 (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice
Statistics, 2008) www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/jim07.htm.

The PIC continues to absorb
billions of our tax dollars
From 1996 to 2005, government spending on criminal justicerelated expenses increased by 64 percent. This increase represents
additional funding for police, prisons, jails, and the judiciary.
The police and related expenditures grew the fastest in the last
decade with a 77 percent increase since 1996.29 In 2005, the
United States spent $213 billion on the criminal justice system:
$98 billion on police, $68 billion on corrections, and $47 billion
on the judiciary. By way of comparison, in 2005, state and local
governments spent less than $42 billion on housing and $192
billion on higher education.30 It remains impossible to calculate
the lost opportunity cost of these investments—every dollar
spent on the prison industrial complex is a dollar withheld from
programs that educate our children and build on the strengths
of our communities; but the increased investing in PIC-related
costs clearly demonstrate a shift in priorities from such things as
education and community development.

Imprisonment rate
(per 100,000)

African Americans are more than five times as
likely as whites and more than twice as likely
as Hispanics to be imprisoned in a jail or
prison in the U.S.
2,500

2,380

2,000
1,500
973

1,000
500
0

762

427

White

African
Hispanic
American

Total

African Americans and Hispanics make up one
third of the U.S. population but makeup 61
percent of the imprisoned population.

20%
(443,000)

White
39%
(852,100)

41%
(882,300)

African
American
Hispanic

Source: William J. Sabol and Heather Couture, Prison Inmates
at Midyear 2007 (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice
Statistics, 2008).
		

Percent change in expenditures
(1996-2005)

Total justice expenditures across federal, state and local
governments have grown 64 percent in the last decade.
90%
80%
70%

77.37%
64.30%
57.21%

60%

50.91%

50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%

Total
Justice

Police
Protection

Judicial/
Legal

Corrections

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Expenditure National Estimates,”
Expenditure and Employment Database, http://bjsdata.ojp.usdoj.gov/data
online/Search/EandE/index.cfm.

Crime is at nearly its lowest point in the past 30
years and continues to fall. 31
The majority of Americans are safer today than ever before. In
2006, the most recent year available for national crime rates, there
was one incident of violent crime (murder, rape, robbery, or aggravated assault) for every 211 people in the U.S. and there was
one incident of property crime (burglary, larceny, or motor vehicle
theft) for every 30 people.32 In comparison, in 1998, there was
one violent crime for every176 people and one property crime for
every 25 people; so the rate of victimization fell 30 percent in the
last decade.
Justice Policy Institute	

7

10 Years By The Numbers

550
4,000

473.5

500

4,049.1

450

3,500
3,334.5

3,000

2,500

400
350
300

Property Crime Rate
Violent Crime Rate

2,000

98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06
19 19 20 20 20 20 20 20 20

250
200

Source: FBI Uniform Crime Report, Crime in the United States, 1998-2006.

Crime still affects certain
communities disproportionately
Despite the overall decrease in violent crime in the last decade, violence
is still a challenge for many communities, especially poor communities of
color. The 2005 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) shows that
African Americans are 34 percent more likely than whites to be a victim
of a violent crime and that people of Hispanic origin are 21 percent more
likely than people who are not of Hispanic origin to be a victim.
Members of households that make less than $7,500 per year are more
than twice as likely as those in households that make more than $75,000
per year to be victims of violent crimes. As illustrated in the accompanying graph, increasing income is associated with a decrease in incidents of
violent victimization.

Violent victimization rate (per 1,000)

600

566.4

People of color are victims of violent
crimes at higher rates than white people.
30

27

25
20

20.1

15
10
5
0

White

Black

People of Hispanic ethnicity are victims of
violent crimes at higher rates than people
who are not of Hispanic ethnicity.
Violent victimization rate (per 1,000)

4,500

Number of violent offenses reported
(per 100,000 people)

Number of property offenses reported
(per 100,000 people)

Since 1998, violent and property crime rates have fallen.

30
25

25
20.6

20
15
10
5
0

Non-Hispanic

Hispanic

Note: Hispanic ethnicity includes people who are of
any race.
Source: Shannan Michelle Catalano, Criminal
Victimization, 2005, Table 4. Violent victimization
rates for selected demographic groups, 1993-2005
(Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2006).

8	

Moving Target: A Decade of Resistance to the Prison Industrial Complex

People with lower income are victims of violent crimes
at higher rates than people with higher incomes.

Violent victimization rate
(per 1,000)

40

37.7

35
30

30.1
26.5

25

26.1
22.4

20

21.1
16.4

15
10
5
0

0
re
99
99
00
99
99
,50
mo
4,9
4,9
9,0
4,9
4,9
$7
3
2
4
7
r
1
$
$
$
$
o
n
0-$
00
00
00
00
00
tha
,50
5,0
5,0
5,0
0,0
5,0
ss
$7
$2
$1
$3
$5
$7
Le

Annual household income
Source: Shannan Michelle Catalano, Criminal Victimization, 2005,
Table 4. Violent victimization rates for selected demographic groups,
1993-2005 (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2006).

		

Justice Policy Institute	

9

PROFITING FROM PRISONS: A risky proposition
for both corporations and communities
While prison growth has slowed considerably since
the 1990s, the United States still imprisons an astronomical proportion of its population. One out
Since 2000, the percentage of the total number of people
in state and federal prison that are held in private facilities
has changed less than one percent.

Percent of total number
of people in prison

8%
7%

6.4%

6.3%

6.4%

6.4%

6.4%

6.9%

7.1%

6%
5%
4%
3%
2%
1%
0%

00
20

01
20

02
20

03
20

04
20

05
20

06
20

Source: William J. Sabol, Heather Couture, and Paige M. Harrison.
Prisoners in 2006 (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2007).

!FTER

 

 

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