Cover for HALLETT: Private Prisons in America: A Critical Race Perspective. Click for larger image

Private Prisons in America

A Critical Race Perspective
Awards and Recognition:

Author is recipient of the Gandhi, King, Ikeda (GKI) Award (2006) given by the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College. Author received an Honorable Mention Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights (2007)

The role of for-profit prisons in the history of oppression and legal discrimination aimed primarily at African American men

Under the auspices of a governmentally sanctioned "war on drugs," incarceration rates in the United States have risen dramatically since 1980. Increasingly, correctional administrators at all levels are turning to private, for-profit corporations to manage the swelling inmate population. Policy discussions of this trend toward prison privatization tend to focus on cost-effectiveness, contract monitoring, and enforcement, but in his Private Prisons in America, Michael A. Hallett reveals that these issues are only part of the story. Demonstrating that imprisonment serves numerous agendas other than "crime control," Hallett's analysis suggests that private prisons are best understood not as the product of increasing crime rates, but instead as the latest chapter in a troubling history of discrimination aimed primarily at African American men.

"In Private Prisons in America, Michael Hallett offers a concise and compelling account of how race (and class) continues to shape the march toward greater investment in imprisonment. As Hallett demonstrates convincingly, people of color (and the poor) serve as raw material for a prison industry that produces a generous windfall for private corrections firms."--Michael Welch, Rutgers University, author of Ironies of Imprisonment

Michael A. Hallett is an associate professor of criminal justice and director of the Center for Race and Juvenile Justice Policy at the University of North Florida. He is the coauthor of U.S. Criminal Justice Interest Groups: Institutional Profiles with Dennis J. Palumbo.

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