SAGE Journal Articles
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Abstract: Bringing together insights from macro-level theory about “mass imprisonment” and micro-level case studies of contemporary punishment, this article presents a mid-level agonistic perspective on penal change in the USA. Using the case of the “rise and fall” of the rehabilitative ideal in California, we spotlight struggle as a central mechanism that intensifies the variegated (and sometimes contradictory) nature of punishment and drives penal development. The agonistic perspective posits that penal development is fueled by ongoing, low-level struggle among actors with varying amounts and types of resources. Like plate tectonics, friction among those with a stake in punishment periodically escalates to seismic events and long-term shifts in penal orientations, pushing one perspective or another to the fore over time. These conflicts do not occur in a vacuum; rather, large-scale trends in the economy, politics, social sentiments, inter-group relations, demographics, and crime affect--but do not fully determine--struggles over punishment and penal outcomes.
Abstract: Over the last two decades, the U.S. prison population has quadrupled, with some 1.9 million people behind bars in federal and state prisons, and local jails by the year 2000. Corporations are seeking profit-making opportunities from this prison population. In this paper, we examine two major areas through which corporations are capitalizing on prison labor: prison privatization and prison industry. We briefly review key explanations of incarceration, report on the current state of prison privatization and prison industrialization, examine the impact they have on organized labor, and propose union strategies in fighting against the expansion of corporate power in the correctional industry.