Prison Profiteers

Who Makes Money from Mass Incarceration

An eye-opening and troubling look at the vast network of corporations and individuals that turn a profit by keeping 2.4 million Americans imprisoned

“Indispensable reading . . . an easy and accessible read—and a necessary one.” —San Diego Union Tribune

In Prison Profiteers, co-editors Tara Herivel and Paul Wright “follow the money to an astonishing constellation of prison administrators and politicians working in collusion with private parties to maximize profits” (Publishers Weekly). From investment banks, guard unions, and the makers of Taser stun guns to health care providers, telephone companies, and the U.S. military (which relies heavily on prison labor), this network of perversely motivated interests has turned the imprisonment of one out of every 135 Americans into a lucrative business.

Called “an essential read for anyone who wants to understand what’s gone wrong with criminal justice in the United States” by ACLU National Prison Project director Elizabeth Alexander, this incisive and deftly researched volume shows how billions of tax dollars designated for the public good end up lining the pockets of those private enterprises dedicated to keeping prisons packed.

“An important analysis of a troubling social trend” (Booklist) that is sure to inform and outrage any concerned citizen, Prison Profiteers reframes the conversation by exposing those who stand to profit from the imprisonment of millions of Americans.


“Lucid, eye-opening.”
Publishers Weekly
“Impressive. . . . A thoughtful, comprehensive and accessible analysis of the money trail behind the prison-industrial complex.”
The Black Commentator
“No country in history has ever handed over so many inmates to private corporations. This book looks at the consequences.”
—Eric Schlosser, bestselling author of Fast Food Nation

Goodreads Reviews