Title

Hidden Corporate Profits in the U.S. Prison System: The Unorthodox Policy-Making of the American Legislative Exchange Council

Publication Date

2016

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Abstract: Using a leaked document trove containing 800 model bills, we analyze the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) hidden corporate profit making in the prison-industrial complex. We find that ALEC seeks to expand the private prison industry in three ways: (1) promoting greater use of private prisons, goods, and services, (2) promoting greater use of prison labor, and (3) increasing the size of the prison population. ALEC's efforts to increase the prison population by expanding definitions of existing crime, creating new crimes, enhancing enforcement of existing crimes, amending the trial process to increase the likelihood of incarceration, and lengthening prison sentences for crimes pose a threat to civil liberties. ALEC's unorthodox policy approach exemplifies John Gaventa's theory that powerful interests maintain their power by creating conditions in which citizens are not able to identify and advocate on behalf of their interests. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Publication Title

Contemporary Justice Review: Issues in Criminal, Social, and Restorative Justice

Volume

19

Issue

3

First Page

380

Last Page

400

DOI

10.1080/10282580.2016.1185949

Version

pre-print, post-print (with 12 month embargo)

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