The private prison industry's role in the immigration industrial complex.


Sara Kerby

Date of Award


Document Type



College of Liberal Arts

Degree Name

Bachelor in Arts


The private prison industry is lucratively situated within a vast and complex network of private-public relations which together form an influential confluence of interests of agency officials, policy makers and private corporations benefiting from the current immigration systems criminalizing policies and militarized border control. This policy network is known by some as the immigration industrial complex. It is the purpose of this research to present an understanding of the mutually beneficial relationship between the private prison industry and the rising incarceration rates of undocumented immigrants. I demonstrate the relationship this industry has with the government, encompassing lobbying practices, campaign contributions, revolving door employees and associational alliances. The findings draw correlations between the development of immigration policy and increases in the number of undocumented immigrants detained and the increase in private prison contracts with government. Additionally, the evidence demonstrates that there exists a highly integrated and mutually beneficial relationship between government and the private prison industry in regards to the increasing incarcerated population of undocumented immigrants.