A Look at Vendors Who Profit From Mass Incarceration
Date:  09-01-2015

Businesses that supply prisons and jails get a slice of the $80 billion spent on incarceration each year
In case you missed the New York Times article on a recent conference that the American Correctional Association held that included an exhibition for vendors who supply prisons and jails with almost every imaginable item, Reentry Central is re-posting it here because it highlights some of the expenditures that the Times reports contributes to the $80 billion dollars that is spent on incarceration each year. From the latest in high-tech security products to prison staples such as coffee and toothpaste sold at prison commissaries, the amount of items that prisons buys, and sometimes sell, is mind boggling.

One of the best known businesses is the Bob Barker Company, which bills itself as “”America’s Leading Detention Supplier.” Most people in prison are more familiar with the items that the Bob Barker Company sells on commissary, such as games or deodorant. There isn’t a prison or jail in the U.S. where you won’t find someone who insists that the items he or she buys from commissary is supplied by the beloved former host of the game shows “Truth or Consequences” and “The Price is Right.” They aren’t, but the rumor has persisted for so long that theTimes reports that the founder of the prison supplier who shares the same name as the celebrity no longer corrects people. This only perpetuates the prison legend.

Mass incarceration is certainly highly profitable for the majority of businesses that make their money off of the consequences of “tough on crime” laws. But David Segal, the author of the Times article, investigates what, if any, affect the new push to empty prison is having on the bottom line of companies who count on full prisons in order to turn a profit.

Read more here.