''It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.'' - Nelson Mandela

The prison-industrial complex is a phenomenon in which prisons are becoming a private industry aiming to make a profit. Recently, some Western states have turned over control of prison to private corporations. In order to make money, these corporate prisons are set up, and then filled with inmates to meet minimum quotas that the government signs on. This has resulted in over 2.3 million incarcerated Americans in 2016.

Corporations then exploit these prisoners for labour, by making them do manufacturing jobs for the army, and businesses, at extremely low wages. Victoria’s Secret, Target, Starbucks, McDonalds, Honda, Wal-Mart, AT&T, Microsoft, Nike, Sprint, Intel, IBM, Texas Instruments, Macy’s and Boeing are only a few of the major corporations that benefit from the prison-industrial complex. Corporate prisons also make higher profits if they spend less money on the prison. This can mean cutting on basics like food, and heating.

Many have criticised this system of corrupting notions of safety, and public service within the criminal-justice system, and replacing them with a desire for profit. It has also famously been called the “new Jim Crow” due to the disproportionate amount of minorities present in these corporate prisons, and its associations with modern day slavery.