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The Gendered Effects of Prison Reform: Privatization, Carceral Rehab, and Women's Incarceration

Sat, August 11, 4:30 to 6:10pm, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Floor: Level 100, 104B

Abstract

In this article, I explore how private prison vendors have adapted to prison reform, particularly sweeping efforts by states such as California to substantially reduce the number of people behind bars. Using the experience of women prisoners in California in the aftermath of Brown v. Plata (2011) and Realignment, I trace the rise and growing popularity of privatized carceral rehabilitation programs. Although rehabilitation was once considered an antidote to mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex, it now fuels the growth of private prison companies and provides a stable source of profitability. It also helps explain why efforts to scale back mass incarceration have had muted or no effects on the number of women behind bars. Although the number of women incarcerated in California has decreased over the last decade, the reduction is substantially smaller than analysts anticipated. This analysis suggests the reconfiguration of mass incarceration in U.S. rather than its dissolution.

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