Monday, January 06, 2014

Prison, Inc., by K.C. Carceral

Prison, Inc., by K.C. Carceral. edited by Thomas J. Bernard. New York: New York University Press, 2006. e-book, 268 pps.

Prison, Inc. was written under a pseudonym in order to avoid any retaliation by those who watch over prisoners. K.C. Carceral has remorse for his crime, as evidenced by his apology that has been inserted before the table of contents. The author does not seek to excuse his actions nor does he seek to deliver a "feel good" tome on how to change the prison system so it doesn't suck quite as much.

What K.C. Carceral succeeds in doing is pointing up the dangers inherent in privatizing prisons (to the lowest bidder) to both convicts and the staff. He goes into his own history as a way to illustrate his points. Each chapter also analyzes how inept policy contributes to the problem. In the first chapter, the Reflections go into the idea that although private prisons are not allowed in the state where he was incarcerated for eighteen years, policy allows for transfer of prisoners to a privatized prison located somewhere in the south.

K.C. Carceral spent four years in the southern privatized prison before being transferred out. He states that the privatized prison was the most violent of any that he has ever done time in. His last chapter, Part VI, Analysis details multiple factors at work in making the privatized prison so violent a place for the convicts and the guards and other workers.

sapphoq reviews says: I had to get used to the references to "Northern State," "Southern State," "Anonymous Numbered Inmate," "Ventura," and "Enterprise."  I admire K.C. Carceral for daring to write Prison, Inc. in spite of possible dire personal consequences for him. (He remains in prison to date). Wardens and other staff people in corrections object when a current inmate write a book. For the uninitiated, prison is no longer considered by the Department of Corrections to be a rehabilitative experience. Convicts are there for punishment. All decisions must [should] have as their bottom line the perceived safety of the institution.
     Prison, Inc. is a fine book. K.C. Carceral has many things to say and he says them well. His writing is scholarly. He is not asking for pity, sympathy or outrage. He is clear about his guilt and not blaming anyone other than himself for his incarceration. The book pulls no punches. Highly recommended for those studying social justice issues, radicals, protesters, people working on behalf of prisoners, and general (adult) audiences. 

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