The Prison Industrial Complex Discussion Paper

The Prison Industrial Complex Discussion of the prison industrial complex (see week 8 most specifically) could focus almost exclusively upon how the agents of our formal system of social control (i.e., those working throughout the criminal justice system) reinforce historically established inequalities.

The Prison Industrial Complex Discussion Paper
The Prison Industrial Complex Discussion Paper

A different approach considers how a general understanding of the historical context of inequality affects perspectives on all sides of a given social interaction. To take a step toward putting the historical context piece into practice, design a strategy which addresses concerns racial minorities (in particular) face when interacting with the agents mentioned above (perhaps none more visible than the police). Specifically, design an intervention which focuses on the micro process of social interaction among individuals (preferably individuals who represent different groups as considered in this course) whose perception of the other is that of an opponent (parent & child Odem 1991 & Davis, 2013; police & LGBTQ citizen Mogul, Ritch, & Whitlock, 2011 & Johnson, 2014; minority communities & agents of the prison industrial complex Brewer & Heitzeg, 2008 & Bush-Basket, 2013; ETC). How does your micro-level (one-on-one, face-to-face) intervention address the need for those involved to understand the power dynamics at play?


Instead of an intervention focusing on the micro-level process, consider an intervention which focuses on the structural elements of oppression, marginalization, the subordination of one group of people by another. In other words, what is your solution to today’s inequality responsible for creating The Prison Industrial Complex and the like?

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