Hidden Corporate Profits in the U.S. Prison System: The Unorthodox Policy-Making of the American Legislative Exchange Council
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. Â© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Contemporary Justice Review: Issues in Criminal, Social, and Restorative Justice
pre-print, post-print (with 12 month embargo)
Cooper, R.; Heldman, C.; Ackerman, A.R.; and Farrar-Meyers, V.A., "Hidden Corporate Profits in the U.S. Prison System: The Unorthodox Policy-Making of the American Legislative Exchange Council" (2016). Social Work Publications. 440.