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In the Land of the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC)

The term “prison industrial complex” refers to the system that incarcerates hundreds of thousands of individuals in exchange for profit. The term has gained recognition in recent years, since the number of incarcerated Americans continues to increase exponentially: “The exploitation of prison labor by private corporations is one aspect among an array of relationships linking corporations, government, correctional communities, and media” (Davis, 2003, p. 84).


In the 1980s, private prisons were virtually non-existent in the United States. However, with the establishment of particular policies—such as Nixon’s “War on Drugs” and “tough on crime” agendas, as well as the concept of mandatory minimum sentencing laws, “truth in sentencing” laws, and “three strike” laws—the private prison industry has grown consistently, as incarceration rates have skyrocketed and put the United States in the top position for incarceration rates in the world. Between 1970 and 2005, the numbers of people incarcerated in the United States grew by 700%. Today the United States incarcerates approximately 2.3 million people. According to the Congressional Research Service, the United States has only 5% of the world’s population, but a full 25% of its prisoners. (Shapiro, 2011, p. 11)


Mass imprisonment of violent and non-violent offenders creates social issues that reach far beyond the imprisoned individual. Mass imprisonment weakens low socioeconomic communities—especially communities of color—by dividing families, decreasing the population of these communities, and severely stifling the chances of post-incarcerated individuals to reintegrate into society (Mauer & Chesney-Lind, 2002).

"Found Google Map of Stateville Prison" Stateville Correctional Center (SCC) is a maximum security state prison for men in Crest Hill, Illinois, USA, in Greater Chicago.[1][2] It is a part of the Illinois Department of Corrections. 


Opened in 1925, Stateville was built to accommodate 1,506 inmates. Parts of the prison were designed according to the panopticon concept proposed by the British philosopher and prison reformer, Jeremy Bentham. Stateville's "F-House" cellhouse, commonly known as a "roundhouse", has a panopticon layout which features an armed tower in the center of an open area surrounded by several tiers of cells. F-House was the only remaining "roundhouse" still in use in the United States in the 1990s.The prison was duplicated in Cuba in 1936, but has since been abandoned.[3] [4]


Today the prison holds an average of over 3,500, at an annual cost of over $32,000 per prisoner.[6]

Stateville's 1,300 employees make it a Level 1 facility; the highest of eight security level designations. There is also a minimum security unit commonly referred to as the Stateville Farm, which is a Level 7 facility, located within the new Northern Reception Center, located just south of the main facility. The Northern Reception Center (NRC), accepts incoming prisoners from the county jails in the northern two-thirds of the state.


Stateville is located two miles (3 km) north of Joliet, Illinois (16830 IL Route 53 Crest Hill, IL 60403; (815) 727-3607), on a site of over 2,200 acres (8.9 km2), of which 64 acres (26 ha) are surrounded by a 33-foot (10 m) concrete perimeter with 10 wall towers. Stateville is often confused with the former Joliet Correctional Center, which closed in 2002. Located in the nearby city of Joliet, the former Joliet Prison is much older and smaller. It is located about 2.5 miles (4.0 km) southeast of Stateville, across the Illinois and Michigan Canal.

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