Who is the Prison Industrial Complex?Prison Industrial Complex

They are people who make money through prison. We don’t think about them much. Who are they:

  • The companies who sell food to the prison – vegetables, meat, and staples.
  • Those who supply paper and office supplies
  • The garbage contractors
  • People who repair machines and computers in the prison
  • People who repair the plumping, electricity or structure of the buildings
  • The paid chaplains that provide chapel services and counseling
  • The school services, which in Canada go to the lowest bidder
  • The companies that inmates are allowed to order from
  • The company that services the candy and soda machines in the visiting room
  • The local and stare/provincial legislators in areas where prisons are. These people know that if they don’t support the prisons, they won’t be in office.money

We’re talking big money here in many cases. These are people who want to see more and bigger prisons. They don’t want to see prison reform and they have a lot of clout.

Did I miss anyone?

  1. judith says:

    Here in Colorado in the US, you would have missed a whole phalanx of drug counseling programs. mostly using some form of social work to coerce behavioral changes, and attempting to teach people how to behave better when they drink. Friends who have done light setences have told me that they do try, but that they really don’t understand. The “offenders” are called names, like bitches, and ho, and cunts, by the guards, who seem to glory in their power and then the counseling staff works on PTSD issues from power-less issues like past rapes, violence and bullying, poverty and addictions, trying to give the inmates some skills to do it differently when they get out.

  2. You have missed the telephone companies that charge inmates criminally high telephone charges, either off their (outrageously low) wages they earn for working in the prison, or that their families bring them, to make calls to those same families, either by extraordinarily high long-distance charges, or even higher collect-call fees. For Stony Mountain, CSC has contracted with Bell Canada to provide these services, so calls are routed (when the system actually works) through Ontario. A call from Stony Mountain into Winnipeg is a local call (no fee at all by Manitoba Telephone System) but Bell charges for it anyway, and the collect call fees can run to hundreds of dollars a month. Some U.S. correctional systems are similarly paying off politicians’ pals in the telephone business this way, and some U.S. courts have ordered them to stop this extortionate practice.

    • Joanne says:

      Yes Chris, you beat me to it. I’d say by far the greatest expense for prison inmates with families in North America is the phone costs. It was actaully a lot worse under Telus, but now that Bell is involved, they can pay 10 cents a minute for a long distance call, which as you explain is really all calls. Everyone else (in the community) pays 4 cents a minute and that is the basic, non-discounted rate in Canada (better deals are available). Collect calls from Canadian prisons, I believe run about 30 cents a minute.

      The other expense is canteen items–although the prices are not usually jacked up too high, prisoners can never take advantage of sales, so Kraft dinner is always $1.67 or something, like that and never $0.99. Doesn’t seem too bad, except when you are making $6 a day tops. I might also remind everyone daily pay is about to drop next month when prisoners will begin being charged room and board.

  3. MisBehaved Woman says:

    Reblogged this on Prison Pork.

  4. Another way the Harper government improved the profits for their pals in the prison-industrial complex was to eliminate the prison farms that used to supply food to their home prison and throughout the system. For example, the farm at Rockwood Institution (near Winnipeg) supplied the western CSC region institutions with cheese, among other things, not to mention the benefits to the inmates in work experience and the less-than-minimum wages (but better than nothing at all) that CSC pays for inmate work.

  5. I don’t know if you missed anyone, Ed, but that list you put up all adds up to a powerful lobby that, as you say, wants to see the status quo remain as it is. Sadly, I can’t see any way in which the people who would like to see reform could ever form a lobby group as powerful. A shame, but there it is.

  6. Just found your blog and I am glad I did!! Following!

  7. […] The Prison Industrial Complex (prisonuncensored.wordpress.com) […]

  8. As I noted above. the Harper government farms out telephone services used by inmates to call home to Bell Canada, which charges them. or their families, astronomically (and criminally) high rates, even for what would otherwise be free calls. The US Bureau of Prisons was doing the same, but complaints to the US Federal Communications Commission caused the FCCto issue a ruling forcing the BOP to charge only reasonable rates, which they have just implemented. Story here: http://csgjusticecenter.org/corrections/posts/bop-reduces-long-distance-phone-rates/?utm_source=CSG+Justice+Center+Primary+List&utm_campaign=57e040d4bd-NRRC_Newsletter_3_17_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_db9d88bcfb-57e040d4bd-42274501

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