The Privatization of Punishment in the United States

Authored by: Shannon Wheatley Hartman , Roxanne Lynn Doty

Routledge Handbook of Private Security Studies

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415729352
eBook ISBN: 9781315850986
Adobe ISBN:


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The privatization of punishment exists in countries throughout the world. Although the scope is wide, for-profit prisons and detention facilities appear most entrenched in Australia, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and the United States. This chapter offers an overview of the privatization of punishment in the United States. The US imprisons more people – both per capita and in absolute terms – than any other country in the world. Over 2.2 million people are currently incarcerated in the US, and the privatization of punishment is both a response to and a contributing factor to this proliferation of jailed and detained individuals.

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