Prison Industrial Complex Week

Prison Industrial Complex Week

Prison Industrial Complex Awareness Week

The Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) awarness initiative is designed to inform and educate the Rowan community about issues related to mass incarceration in the United States.

Background

The American criminal justice system holds more than 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 901 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,163 local jails, and 76 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, and prisons in the U.S. territories (Wagner & Rabuy, 2017).  This is a drastic increase from forty years ago when the prison population was roughly 300,000 when President Nixon launched  the "War on Drugs" in 1972.  Today, the U.S makes up 5% of the world’s population and subsequently has 25% of the worlds prisoners in facilities around the country. In other words, one out of every four persons behind bars on the planet is confined within this country maiking the U.S. the world’s largest jailer.

The draconian legislation in sentencing, three Strikes and mandatory minimums, introduced in 1973 under the Rockefeller drug laws that mandated 15 years to life for drug traffickers and addicts, has created a political and economic infrastructure that we refer to today as the Prison Industrial Complex. This network includes businesses and organizations, "prison profiteers", that utilize and profit from prison labor (Herivel & Wright, 2007). Prison privitazation has also dramatically risen in the past twenty years from five to over one hundred facilities that drive the need to have a prison population to mazimize profits (Peláez, 2008).

Prison Industrial Complex Week

The events and programs during PIC week inform and educate the Rowan community about the legal, political, and financial issues surrounding the evolution and structural manifestation of the prison system and the current reforms taking place to reduce the prion population in the United States. Past events during the PIC weeks have included nationally reknowned speakers and incarcerated inmates who share their stories with the Rowan community. The week's events are designed to bring awareness to the conditions and autracities sufferred by prisoners and the effects mass incaration has on communities and families across the nation. Additionally, this initiative ultimately seeks to have students not only be greater aware, but to become advocates for dismantling the prison industrial complex and lobby for fair sentencing for non-violent offenses.