Prison Industrial Complex for Beginners (For Beginners), by James Braxton Peterson
Oct. 18, 2016
The U.S. locks up an abnormally high percentage of its citizens. Prison Industrial Complex for Beginners is an attempt to get at the roots of the situation. A Lehigh University Africana studies professor, James Braxton Peterson sees race at the bottom of the problem, especially how the globalized “post-industrial” economy and the ill-conceived War on Drugs played out in historically underprivileged sectors where some African Americans turn to “the underground economics of their immediate environment.” Peterson borrows the term “prison industrial complex” to describe not only the growth of privatized prisons but of penitentiaries as a shadow industry generating profits but little public awareness. The author makes a strong argument for linking the decline in public funding for education and the rise in funding for prisons.