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American RadioWorksDocumentariesAmericaPart of the Lock-Up Society

April 2002
Corrections Inc.
by John Biewen

The nation's swelling inmate population has turned imprisonment into a $50 billion-a-year industry. Those who've prospered along the way include corporations, prison guard unions, and police agencies. American RadioWorks correspondent John Biewen examines how some of those with vested interests help to shape who gets locked up and for how long.

SLIDESHOWS
(will open new windows)

Inside the Corrections Industry

Asset Forfeiture: Fuel for the Drug War

Prison Guards' Union Backs Victims Rights

SIDEBARS
How Asset Forfeiture Works

Case Study: Wisconsin
See how one corporation benefits from its involvement with the American Legislative Council. (Will open new window)

REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK
The Story Behind "Corrections, Inc."
by correspondent John Biewen

RESOURCES
Related Links
Full Audio (Real Audio, 1 hour)
Printable Transcript



small photo PART I
Corporate-Sponsored Crime Laws
Some people point to the corrections industry and wonder: Is the industry serving the needs of inmates, or is it the other way around?  ReadListen (Real Audio, 14:30 min)
 
 PART II
The Cops' Share
The war on drugs took off when police agencies got a new incentive to chase drug offenders: the ability to keep cash and vehicles seized in drug operations. Critics say asset forfeiture skews police priorities by giving them a monetary stake in the war on drugs.  ReadListen (Real Audio, 19:30 min)
 
small photo PART III
Turning the Key: California's Prison Guards
Like any big industry, corrections is a major employer. The majority of prison workers are guards. In California, the guards union has become one of the most powerful and politically aggressive interest groups in the state. The union gives new meaning to the job of keeping inmates behind bars.  ReadListen (Real Audio, 16:31 min)


Are you aware of other cases in which companies or interest groups help to keep the prisons full? Please share your comments, or read comments.

 
MORE AMERICAN RADIOWORKS REPORTING ON PRISONS AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE:

Hard Time  What impact has America's 30-year War on Crime had on communities and families?

America's Drug War  The fight against one of the world's most profitable industries.

Jailing the Mentally Ill  Why are so many mentally ill Americans behind bars?

Prison Diaries Five inmates, four correctional officers, and a judge kept audio journals for six months.
360 Degrees online documentary   |   All Things Considered coverage



To order a CD send a check or money order for $20 to: MPR Tapes, 45 East 7th Street, St. Paul, MN 55101


CREDITS
Host: Deborah Amos
Correspondent: John Biewen
Editor: Deborah George
Coordinating Producer: Sasha Aslanian
Mixing: Craig Thorson, Tom Mudge
Project Coordinator: Misha Quill
 

Production Assistance: Baris Gumus-Dawes, Seth Lind, Mark Holterhaus
Managing Editor: Stephen Smith
Executive Producer: Bill Buzenberg
Web Manager: John Pearson
Online Producer: Emily Thompson

Major Funding for American RadioWorks is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and members of Minnesota Public Radio. The Lock-Up Society is supported in part by a grant from the Open Society Institute.