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Prison, Inc.

Prison, Inc.: A Convict Exposes Life Inside a Private Prison

K. C. Carceral
EDITED BY Thomas J. Bernard
Copyright Date: 2006
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 268
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Prison, Inc.
    Book Description:

    Prison, Inc. provides a first-hand account of life behind bars in a controversial new type of prison facility: the private prison. These for-profit prisons are becoming increasingly popular as state budgets get tighter. Yet as privatization is seen as a necessary and cost-saving measure, not much is known about how these facilities are run and whether or not they can effectively watch over this difficult and dangerous population. For the first time, Prison, Inc. provides a look inside one of these private prisons as told through the eyes of an actual inmate, K.C. Carceral who has been in the prison system for over twenty years.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-7243-0
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xvi)
    Thomas J. Bernard

    This book is a case study of a privately owned prison intended to provide you, the reader, with an accurate glimpse into prison life. It follows the events that occurred with the prison’s descent into chaos and its subsequent climb back toward order and control. All names of people and places in this book have been changed to protect the identity of the author, who fears he might suffer retaliation either from prison officials or from other inmates if his true identity were disclosed.

    To disguise his identity, the author of this book uses the pseudonym K. C. Carceral. This...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  5. PART I Welcome to Enterprise

    • 1 The Politics of Enterprise Prison
      (pp. 3-9)

      After eighteen years in the Northern State Prison System, I was waiting to be shipped to yet another prison. This would be the ninth prison I had entered since my incarceration, but this prison would be nothing like the previous ones.

      At one time I had the security of knowing I would remain in Northern State and I had the opportunity, if I complained enough, to be sent to a prison near my family. But that had changed. The old days were long gone. Lateral transfers, where the state moved prisoners from one prison to another at the same security...

    • 2 Orientation
      (pp. 10-20)

      As I looked at my new home, I could see the place was built cheap. Very cheap! Everything was concrete or steel. Most of the concrete was prefabricated and trucked in. There were cracks everywhere—not hairline cracks but cracks so big you could put your finger in them. Later, when summer came, I learned this allowed for the invasion of bugs, especially ants. I never knew there could be so many ants!

      Then there was the concrete dust—it was everywhere. Many floors were poured and dried so they looked like oatmeal. Some cells didn’t have sealer on the...

    • 3 New Prison Problems
      (pp. 21-32)

      This was a brand-new prison and the mayhem had started. The administration was creating rules as they went along, but no one followed or enforced them. No one seemed to care.

      Getting staff to do things was next to impossible. They would continually say:Submit a request slip. Men submitted request slip after request slip to the property room. However, no one even looked at them. One day the property senior came to the unit and said she had received no request slips at all. The unit manager would say the same thing. The staff would give a man the...

  6. PART II Guerrilla Warfare

    • 4 Wild Wild West
      (pp. 35-48)

      “Hmm, what?” Mark said as he came out of his sleep. A pounding sound was coming from somewhere.

      Mark had been my cellie in orientation, but we were split when they moved us to the new housing pod—most of us went into cells that already had someone in them. Then my cellie took a job in the kitchen, so he got moved to the housing pod for kitchen workers. I got a new cellie but he had a slip from medical for a lower bunk. I also had a medical slip so one of us had to go. It...

    • 5 Beat Down Crew
      (pp. 49-60)

      The housing unit where I was living was changed into an educational unit, and so we were all moved off into new units and new cells. I was moved onto the unit that most inmates called the Aryan unit. That was because all the Aryans lived there. Out of forty prisoners on the unit, there were maybe five Blacks who lived there, and maybe five Whites who were not Aryan. I was one of those five Whites.

      My old cellie Mark also moved onto the same unit, but we were in separate cells, with him on the ground floor and...

    • 6 The Zoo
      (pp. 61-76)

      “Hey Officer, come here God dammit,” the man in 102 yelled under his seg door for the third time.

      “What do you need?” the officer replied rather disgusted.

      Officer Pooch was young, maybe twenty-one or twenty-two years old. By his facial gestures, you could see he was tired of the shit today.What a way to make a living, he thought.

      “Did they get me a cell yet?” The prisoner was yelling into the door’s crack. In seg, in order to talk to a guard, you had to yell through the door cracks. The doors and food slots were never...

  7. PART III My Tour

    • 7 Caught Up
      (pp. 79-87)

      I had been at Enterprise prison now for about six months. I had been living on the “Aryan” pod with Steel and Hammer, but after they assaulted Mark, the unit manager decided that there were just too many White prisoners on that pod. So I got moved again to a new pod where now I was living with my old associate Lowe and my new cellie, Jon. Cash was there too, along with Hank and some gangbangers I didn’t know.

      One thing about prisons is that your old associates keep popping up in your life. When I left maximum years...

    • 8 The Other Enemy
      (pp. 88-104)

      “Hi. I am Captain Drinks,” he said to Jon and I. About eleven o’clock that night after my assault, the third shift supervisor arrived at our cell. This was the same shift supervisor who had been indicted for assaulting a prisoner. “I was told someone in this cell got beat up pretty bad.”

      “I don’t know nothing.” I said. I was on the top bunk and Jon was on the bottom.

      “Well, we can’t help you if you don’t help us,” Drinks said. He looked at Jon. Jon was pointing up towards the top bunk.

      I was thinking:How can...

    • 9 Gang Related
      (pp. 105-113)

      “Hey, Dore wants to hollar at you,” a young cat named Jade said.

      I looked up from my letter on the dayroom table. Most everyone left for rec and the unit was quiet. “Dore? Who the hell is Dore?”

      “He’s my cellie in 201!”

      I never considered the fact that he sent Jade to me. “I don’t know him.”

      “Look man, ain’t nothin’ gonna happen. He just wants you to come up to our cell and hollar.”

      I had been told that this dude was one of the lookouts. I was also told Dore was sitting on the tier steps...

    • 10 Seg Time
      (pp. 114-132)

      “Who are you?”

      “Inmate, Anonymous,” I stated.

      “You’re goin’ to lockup,” he authoritatively announced. I was now talking with the first shift supervisor. One thing you generally find in prison: the higher up the chain of command, the more bossy and controlling the worker becomes. Not every case is like this, but chances are, if you talk with someone above a unit sergeant or support staff, they will be ego-tripping. The private prison was no different.

      Great! Four days after I get assaulted, I end up in the supervisor’s office to be told I am going to seg. “Why?” I...

  8. PART IV An Exercise in Futility

    • 11 Riot
      (pp. 135-147)

      Once I was back in general population, the gangbangers started to threaten and stalk me. They tried to intimidate me, but I wouldn’t bend. And soon, something bigger than me distracted their attention. Enterprise’s timeline and my timeline finally collided!

      Shortly after I got out of seg, the prison went from boycott to riot to lockdown!

      It was a year to the month after that officer was placed in a coma in the incident in the weight area, just before I had arrived at Enterprise. Most counselors and unit mangers were not doing much. The support staff didn’t do much...

    • 12 Lockdown
      (pp. 148-160)

      “Fuckers, our milk has been sitting outside the cell since six thirty this morning,” my cellie said as I climbed out of bed. The riot was over. The chowhall was tore-up. And we were on lockdown.

      Every day started out the same way. He always complained. All the cellies I’d had were starting to blend into one. They always whined and complained.

      My cellies would tell other men that I was stuck-up. They hadn’t been around long enough to understand the concept of doing time in the same way as I did.

      I am tired of time. All I have...

    • 13 Aftermath
      (pp. 161-170)

      “Good morning,” Assistant Warden Tate said to all those in the office for the meeting. “I want to touch on some areas of the seg unit and disciplinary system. First, no man leaves early from seg. No time served, no credit for the days they spend there before their hearing.” Hearing Examiner Hanson nodded.

      “No longer will men be placed in seg without a disciplinary report. No more placing them under investigation and never following up.”

      “Okay,” Chief of Security Milburn agreed, “I hope IA listens.” Chief Walker was long gone. Maybe he got tired of working under Tate, or...

  9. PART V Taking Control

    • 14 The Masters
      (pp. 173-189)

      “Have you been out in the hallways?” Henry asked as we sat at the dayroom table. “They are checking everyone in the hallway. You can’t get past the first crash gate without a pass. They also added more signs in the hallways, too. Now I think they have them every forty feet:Walk to the right, no talking, single file line.”


      They were slowly taking control of the hallways and recreation area. The masters were now imposing their wills, all led by Assistant Warden Tate.

      “Tate is serious about this shit now.” Henry paused to light a cigarette. “I...

    • 15 The Servants
      (pp. 190-203)

      “Well, fellas, it’s been a good lunch but I got to go back a little early to use the facilities before my cellie returns.” I deposited my tray and hit the hallway following a shorter Black dude. I had seen his face around but didn’t personally know him.

      We turned the corner where the ice freezers sat. There was a young woman officer monitoring the hallway. We both passed by her.

      “Excuse me …”

      I had already passed her so I assumed it wasn’t me that she was calling. But I wasn’t going to turn my head to find out....

    • 16 The Power
      (pp. 204-212)

      “Hey Lowe,” I greeted him once he checked in at the officer’s desk. “Don’t look like too much laundry today.”

      “All right. No it don’t”

      “I got to walk to a few units today.”

      “Be careful, the three triplets are in the hallways harassing people.”

      “They sure got that down like a broken record.”

      “That’s that Warden Tate shit. I thought they would lighten up after he was removed.”

      I smiled at Lowe. “I guess they decided that Tate beatin’ the shit out of his girlfriend looked bad.” When he left, the rumors flew around the prison that he had...

  10. PART VI Analysis

    • 17 Factors Contributing to Violence and Its Control
      (pp. 215-236)

      This book tells a story about violence and its control in a particular prison. Enterprise had many problems that were accompanied by and seemed to cause sharply escalating violence. The violence culminated in the beat down crews that assaulted Anonymous and many other inmates. Eventually a brief riot was followed by a prison lockdown. After that, the administration then began asserting control by increasing the pettiness of rule enforcement and by solidifying the guard role, making it more polarized to the prisoner role.

      In each chapter, the description of specific events at this particular prison was followed by reflections that...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 237-240)
  12. Glossary
    (pp. 241-246)
  13. About the Author and the Editor
    (pp. 247-247)