A new video exposes the ways in which for-profit prison corporations are adapting to the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security’s announcements to phase out private prisons and historic reductions in state prison populations by seeking out new markets previously served by non-profit behavioral health and treatment-oriented agencies.
For-profit prison companies like Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group are rebranding themselves to market a repackaged product, promoting their business as providing humane treatment and rehabilitation. This new move has been dubbed the Treatment Industrial Complex, or TIC.
This disturbing new trend is brought vividly to life in the new video produced by Brave New Films. In it, the TIC is portrayed as a hairy, bloodsucking tick that is quite literally a parasite on state and federal efforts to end mass incarceration. The video lays bare how the profit motive is fundamentally at odds with efforts to truly rehabilitate people. Instead, these companies rely on recidivism and expansion of the criminal punishment system.
The Treatment Industrial Complex video reveals that the profit-based business model is at odds with the goal of running effective and fair criminal justice systems at the lowest reasonable cost. Instead, there is a perverse incentive to ensnare more individuals, placing them under increased levels of supervision and surveillance, for increasing lengths of time. This runs contrary to the best practices in the field.
The video is part of a joint campaign among three advocacy organizations, including The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) of Tucson, Arizona, which has been a long-time watchdog over the private prison industry in Arizona. AFSC’s groundbreaking report on for-profit prisons in Arizona, “Private Prisons: The Public’s Problem,” exposed lax safety standards and failure to realize promised cost savings.
Other campaign partners include Grassroots Leadership out of Austin, Texas and the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta. These groups have identified the various segments of the TIC and are working together to alert advocates and stakeholders nationwide about the threats that it poses.
The organizers are thrilled to have a visual element to their campaign efforts. “This video conveys these concepts in a very compelling, even visceral way,” says AFSC Program Coordinator Emily Verdugo. “When you portray the TIC as an actual bloodsucking tick, people can see how truly disgusting and dangerous this industry is.”
WHO: American Friends Service Committee, Arizona; Grassroots Leadership (Austin, TX) and Southern
Center for Human Rights (Atlanta, GA)
WHAT: Short animated video on the Treatment Industrial Complex (TIC)
WHERE: You can view the video here: https://afscarizona.org/treatment-industrial- complex/