Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Corporatization of Criminal Justice

On April 14, 2017 at the Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, a symposium will be held entitled "The Corporatization of Criminal Justice."  The conference will bring together panelists and keynote presenters from across the nation and world consisting of scholars, attorneys and advocates working on the pressing issue of the role of private for-profit prisons in mass incarceration and immigration detention.  The conference seeks to address a broad range of questions, including how the profit-motive of private prison corporations influences the length and severity of sentences and availability of parole, how private prisons and mass incarceration disproportionately impact communities of color and how private prisons contribute to social inequality and oppression.  This event will examine the corporatization of the criminal justice system writ large, examining prisons, parole, immigration detention, bail and probation.

The event keynote speaker is Benjamin Jealous, former President and CEO of the NAACP.  Other speakers include Marie Gottschalk, Gilad Barnea, Rashad Shabazz, Paul Bender, Yolanda Vasquez, Donald Tibbs, Hadar Aviram, Alex Friedmann, Yvette Lindgren, John Dacey, and dré cummings.  Presenter biographies are available here.

The event is available to attorneys for CLE credit (Arizona and California) (register here) and is free for the general public.  The conference schedule is

Together with ASU Law, this event is being sponsored by:  Abolish Private Prisons, Carolina Academic Press, American Constitution Society, Changing Hands Bookstore, and the law firm of Osborn Maledon.


  1. I have commented previously on the issue on the privatization of prisons. This comment is in regard to one of the issues that Benjamin Jealous has reportedly directed his activism, that is - easing the voting restrictions of ex-felons.

    My first thought is how is (allegedly) committing a crime congruent to not retaining the right to vote? My answer is that I do not think the two are related in any way. (Sidenote: As everyone knows not all convictions equal a guilty person.)

    What I do think is that easing the voting restrictions of ex-felons would provide (alleged) "ex-felons" another opportunity and perspective to reenter a society in which many (alleged) felons already feel cast aside from.

    Additionally, if ex-felons have been disproportionately affected based on their race, as has been reported for many years, there would seem to yet another reason to do the equitable thing - ease the voting restrictions for ex-felons.

    Robin Beasley

    1. robin, excellent comment. felon disenfranchisement has served as a trigger point for the current trend in restricting voting rights currently engaged in by many states across the country. voter-id laws and limiting the number of days and hours of pre-voting are both efforts to restrict the number of Americans that vote, when we should be expanding the franchise, allowing the greatest number of individuals to exercise their right. i agree that any state law that restricts released prisoners (those that have paid their debt to society) from voting should be repealed such that all those interested in exercising their right should be allowed to do so.

      at the ASU event, ben jealous talked about criminal justice reform and the great victories that can be won by dedicated activists. he described the successful efforts of some to remove voting restrictions of formerly incarcerated persons across the country.