The Big Money in US Prisons


Bulletproof vests, riot gear and batons are all on display at the American Correctional Association convention in New Orleans. (photo: Eric Markowitz/IBT Media)
Bulletproof vests, riot gear and batons are all on display at the American Correctional Association convention in New Orleans. (photo: Eric Markowitz/IBT Media)

 

Eric Markowitz | International Business Times | Reader Supported News | January 25, 2016

he salesman stood outside the prison bus, inviting people inside for a brief tour. Those who obliged marveled at the steel “containment” cages, the bullet-resistant windows and the high-tech onboard surveillance systems.

The price tag for such a vehicle? About $580,000.

This bus, along with hundreds of other products and services, are on display this week at the American Correctional Association’s annual winter conference in New Orleans. According to the event’s organizers, it has become “the largest gathering of corrections personnel in the United States.”

While the conference offers several dozen educational workshops and panels about reforming the criminal justice system, the trade show on the convention center floors offers a peek into the sprawling private industry around incarceration. In many ways, it’s just like any other trade show: Men and women stand by their companies’ booths, wearing polo shirts adorned with their logos, handing out free pens, tote bags and brochures.

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