How Corporations Exploit the Incarcerated

The prison industrial complex (PIC) is the intricate network of companies and investors benefiting from of the carceral system and millions of incarcerated Americans, as well as the legislators and governmental systems that enable them. While many people are familiar with private prisons, who are paid (often at a higher rate than public prisons) by the American taxpayer, the complex includes other players: companies who sell goods and services at exorbitant prices to incarcerated people and companies who pay extremely low (or no) wages for prison labor. Those operators, prison labor companies, and goods providers spend millions on lobbying, who contribute to making the exploitation of the incarcerated easier. Behind the whole system are banks and financial institutions, who extend credit to all parties to this economy. The complexity of the prison industrial complex makes action supporting the incarcerated, formerly incarcerated, or their families difficult to extend at a systematic level.