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

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3.5 Corporations, prisons and global perspectives on crime and harm

In this section you have seen the importance of both global perspectives in understanding crime and harm and the need to move beyond a focus on the state as the only powerful actor in the sphere of criminal justice. The concept of ‘the prison industrial complex’ suggests the significance of the relationship between transnational corporations which sell their services (such as running prisons) to several states. The operation of prisons in the pursuit of profit can further exacerbate existing inequalities with incentives to continually expand imprisonment (particularly of disadvantaged groups) regardless of the considerable harms flowing from imprisonment. Looked at from a zemiological viewpoint, the prison industrial complex seems to operate more in the interests of powerful states and corporations rather than serving the interests of justice or the interests of the populations which governments are ostensibly elected to serve.