Skip to main content

About this free course

Become an OU student

Download this course

Share this free course

Questioning crime: social harms and global issues
Questioning crime: social harms and global issues

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

3 Corporations, prisons and global perspectives on crime and harm

Described image
Figure 6 Prisons can be thought as part of industries of punishment, with profit-making corporations involved in their delivery.

So far in this course, you have been exploring some of the debates about crime and harm, and, in particular, critically considering how certain harms in society may be criminalised and others not. In the last section, you were introduced to the suggestion that, in particular, harms that come about in contexts of structural inequality can tell us something about the role of power in causing, being subjected to, and avoiding harm. It thus introduced arguments about the role of powerful individuals and particularly groups, notably states. In this section the role of the state remains significant, but we will consider other powerful actors as well, particularly multinational corporations. In the following case study, you will be introduced to issues focused around important contemporary debates about prisons. You will also further consider inequality, power, harms, and the global nature of what might appear to be local issues.