PR!SONS: A Booming Business (Pt. 2)

Click here for the link to part 1.

Prisons who endorse the negligence of women benefit financially.


The BOP (Bureau of Prisons) reported that, as of last month, 6% of their prison population is women. Of their total population. 58% is white, 37% is black, and the remaining are Native Mmerican, Hispanic, Asian, etc. Of the US’s total population, 72% are white, ~13% black, and the rest are the various other racial minorities in this country.

76% of the US’s total population are over 18 years old, able to be admitted into prison; or ~250,000,000 people. There are 171,000 whites in prison, and 71,000 blacks. 

This isn’t even reporting the statistics on private prisons; the BOP only controlls about 80% of all prisons nationwide in the US. That leaves 20% for prisons with statistics unknown, and conditions that go unreported.



The BOP contracts private prisons, which sometimes have statistics that may be slightly askew. But even with that, the reports are horrific. The Office of Inspector General reports the number of inmates per private prison per state, as well as how many private prisons that were there. There are a significant amount of private prisons bordering Mexico and the East coast. In Texas, there are a total of FIVE contracted private prisons, two on the border to Mexico, totaling a population of over 5,000. In California, with a much larger population, one prison lies near southern California with a population of about 1,700. There’s also two more prisons in Alabama alone, totaling a population of almost 4,000 people.

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Globally, prisons look a little different. Norway is notorious for their ever so “perfect” prison system. According to Business Insider, The US takes 10 to every 1 person in jail in Norway; or 75 vs 707 for every 100,000 people.  Why? Because their focus is rehabilitation, unlike the US’s goal; profit. Whether that be limiting basic hygiene products like tampons and pads, to reducing food, prisons have become a place for solitude. According to an ACLU study, inmates lose 10-30 pounds while in prison. And if you happen to be pregnant, this isn’t exactly the most ideal situation.

States like Florida, Texas, Mississippi and Texas actually have saving minimums. That’s right, you have to save at least (enter percentage here). These are also states that support sentencing minimums; which make mass incarceration that much easier to do. And once you combine sentencing minimums with a 90% fill capacity to make the case to “build another prison to prevent overcrowding”, then yes, mass incarceration and business are bound to be in the same realm. So why do we keep them? Because once women in particular are let out of prison, like many others, they’re not offered jobs, rights, or basic needs. This leads to prostitution and sex work, the only available income able to keep them afloat. Due to the fact that prostitution is the only available job, women are forced into bare minimum survival mode; contributing to the US’s 67% three year recidivism rate; just a number in the system.

“Ladies Kindly Do Your Soliciting Discreetly. Reno Hotel Association, Las Vegas. 14 July 21.”

Being forced to harm another to survive, then being forced to harm themselves once being “forgiven” by the US system has led to more than just a large prison population, but a system of incarceration and profit. Here, the Social Pain Overlap Theory takes flight as women and prisoners are shamed into being shuffled back into the prison system; a central place of belonging, so to speak. More than that, we’re also shamed into not being part of the “convict” stigma; a criminal, marked for life. Prison is a ark of shame; an acknowledgement of mistakes and being caught for them. And the industry has fed off this rhetoric by allowing those who have been in the system to believe that there is no alternative after release; only recidivism.

It’s a booming business, growing larger by the day.

Image Credit: Pixabay, Pixabay, Wikipedia

One thought on “PR!SONS: A Booming Business (Pt. 2)

  1. I really enjoyed reading your post and I think you delve into some difficult topics regarding prisons. I have always wondered, does the United States really want to help rehabilitate and reform the inmates? Or are the prisons more focused on profits? Your blog eloquently answers this question, and I am disgusted that the prisoners lose 10-30 pounds on average in prison. I think it also is important for them to have proper hygiene products, and if the prisons cannot afford to keep their prisoners, then they should not have them!!! I just read Janet Mock’s memoir where she describes her childhood and transition to womanhood. For her, she explained that many women choose sex work because it is the only available means to make money for themselves, but once in jail, they cannot get hired. I think we need to reform this system. Instead of the state spending money to lock these women up, they could instead help them keep their records clean and provide them with resources to get hired, as this would make a long lasting impact. Why do you think that they don’t help their prisoners? How can we change this? Is there anything we can do at a college level to start making an impact?


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