Profiting From the Production of Criminality: The Drive to Privatize California State Prisons

Karyl Kicenski

Johnson Center, Assembly D
November 16, 2006, 07:00 PM to 07:00 PM


This project examines the ways in which the privatization of California state prisons offers a functional solution to structural contradictions in the state's capitalist political economy over the last two decades. I argue that privatization facilitates the reproduction of the state's economic, politico-legal, and ideological systems and is directly connected to conflicts in the relationship between forces of capital and the state governing bodies of California. By examining material and discursive texts that represent each state system, I show specific material shifts, social and political transformations, and discursive distortions of crime and criminality that oversimplify the true nature of criminal justice and enable support for the private contracting of state prisons.

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