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Lizbet Simmons

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Profiting from Punishment: Public Education and the School Security Market

This article charts the invigoration of the penal state in an unlikely place: the American public school system. The US educational system and the US correctional system are quintessential representations of the social welfare state and the penal state respectively and are typically configured as opposites. During the war on crime, however, public schools and prisons became integrally linked as collaborating partners. These institutions share leadership and funding, and have policies, technologies, cultural practices, and disciplinary rhetoric in common. This coordination of prisons and schools serves the interests of the neoliberal and post-industrial state with harsh ramifications for urban low-income minority communities. The article demonstrates how youth school punishment is a high stakes profit strategy. It traces the punitive acceleration in public schools of the war on crime era, charts school security market expansion, and points to the consequences of this dynamic for racial inequality.

public schools, school punishment, security market

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 41, No. 4 (2014): 81-95

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