The Treatment-Industrial Complex: Alternative Corrections, Private Prison Companies, and Criminal Justice Debt
62 Pages Posted: 29 Dec 2020
Date Written: October 26, 2020
Out of the 6.7 million adults caught up in the criminal legal system, approximately 4.5 million are under correctional control outside of prisons and jails. Within this hidden world of “alternative corrections,” people who are arrested, detained, imprisoned, put on probation or diversion, and even released are forced to pay a growing amount of money to various for-profit “criminal justice” actors. Alternatives to incarceration are conditioned on fines, fees, and other forms of wealth extraction, causing a vicious cycle of poverty and indebtedness that is virtually impossible to escape. This Article explores and analyzes the little-researched area of criminal justice debt arising from alternative corrections: how private corrections companies profit from supervising those individuals released, paroled, sent to rehabilitation or diversion, placed on probation, or subject to forensic or civil commitment. These under-examined forms of for-profit correctional supervision — the treatment-industrial complex — have turned supposedly progressive alternatives to incarceration into cash-register justice.
Keywords: debt, alternative corrections, criminal justice, cash register justice, fines and fees
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