Controversial prison work in the digital age

How much can you earn with someone serving a sentence? In the rule of law and order, the corporations that run the prisons have found space to breathe freely, with the United States as their biggest advocate. And with an exportable model that has become a lifeline for many Wall Street investors, who in the midst of the current uncertainty have found companies with round numbers. he The black pinstriped suit is the new barcode Business entity, prison business is prohibited.

PHOTO - Salvadoran President Neb Bukele built a massive prison and proposed paying inmates' families $170 for meals, clothes and toiletries.  Meanwhile, a Massachusetts bill could allow prisoners to trade their organs in exchange for their freedom.

The prison trade boomed

Salvadoran President Neb Bukele built a massive prison and proposed paying inmates’ families $170 for meals, clothes, and toiletries. Meanwhile, a Massachusetts bill could allow prisoners to trade their organs in exchange for their freedom.

Multiple reference, from hundreds of German companies that Using the labor of Spanish prisoners To produce at low cost (as revealed by Corrective), by moving through the lucrative number of a prison counsellor for the rich, to digital collection services. Or the most altruistic visions of tech companies finding winter baths of prison entrepreneurs.

And in the middle of the digital age, escape is a thing of the past with surveillance also practiced in Spain, while the most advanced Chinese prisons with AI and facial recognition are The all-seeing eye Which is advertised as “don’t sleep, don’t eat, don’t blink”.

But technology not only serves in surveillance, it also improves the lives of prisoners. project Smart prison or smart prison Finland Providing inmates with personal mobile devices designed to integrate psychological, educational and health digital services to each cell. Nor do they leave indifferent what they call luxurious prisons or golden cages In Norway for its many benefits. Indeed, the Norwegian prison system has been described as a prison utopia. And this is the case for the most knowledgeable people, now more than ever, Orange is the new black.

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Firm move

Private prisons are growing steadily and are up 30% on the stock market. They offer lower costs, in theory, saving an average of 15% per prisoner. His benefit was to receive a payment from the government for each prisoner. The minimum occupancy rate must be 90%. But this means transferring prisoners from public to private prisons Additional cost in the process or offering public rescues to the millionaires of these prisons.

Your hotline depends on what Maintaining or increasing the prison population, which they themselves acknowledge in their public reports. These companies make intense pressure on the political authorities. Not in vain, companies in the prison sector are at risk, according to their own estimates, a potential business of $ 74,000 million. And it is their power that makes them the ones to decide how long the prisoners stay in custody, which then influences the final judicial decision.

Michael Perry, a fund manager known for predicting the 2008 crisis, is an example of how big investors are turning away from technology companies, which he has attracted Companies operating in prisons. Burry has invested more than $3 million in the second largest company, American Geo Group, worth €1,300 million. His other bet, and the first in the ranking, is CoreCivic, formerly Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), a leader in this sector since the 1980s with Ronald Reagan. His business is booming: his income increased by 132% in 2022 compared to 2021.

Ryan Justin, Director of Public Relations for CoreCivic tells us, “Your company is committed to providing high-quality, compassionate treatment. Operating safe facilities that provide education and re-entry programs and offering non-residential options such as electronic monitoring.”

Another heavyweight is the British Serco. Marcus De Vil, a spokesman for Serco, explains to ABC that it is a provider of services to governments internationally. We operate in the UK, Continental Europe, North America or the Middle East. The programs we offer include education, combating addiction, and building family bonds.”

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However, it is a disputed model and Javier Nistal Boron, a lawyer for a correctional institution, points out first of all that private prison in Spain is unaffordable because we have a model of rehabilitation. And Bernardo Del Rosal Blascoprofessor of criminal law at the University of Alicante, explains that “the main objective of privatization is economic efficiency». Which can lead to discrimination. Because of the complaints made, private prisons can generate more violence and escapes because they employ unqualified staff to cut costs.

Boron points out that “it’s true that in some external aspects of what is the execution of the sentence right, which I would classify as mixed management, well, yeah, the special formulas fit, for example, what is the construction of prisons that Siepsa is doing here, which is A private company operating with public capital, to feed the prisoners, and for maintenance activities with special formulas ».

But it shows us that what is precisely the model of execution of punishment, as envisioned in our prison regulations, and especially in General Basic Law on Prisons No. 1.79 of September 26 And in the 1996 regulation that developed it, no special model can be imagined.

Crime and punishment

In this particular panorama, it is not surprising that Fig Prison counselor, as Larry Jay Levine, owner of the Moorpark Survival Store and former president of Pacific Telephone Company. His company provides services that can run up to $100,000 to white-collar clients. Basically teach them how to survive in prison. Find a designated prison with benefits and programs that lead to reduced sentences.

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The role that Boron establishes in Spain is played by the jurists of the prison institution, who are responsible for these advisory functions. As well as the team of prison educators, social workers, and even the probation officials themselves.

However, once inside, the inmates can also find the light at the end of the tunnel. In The Last Mile Tech Incubator, they participate with financial support and master classes from Linkedin,, or the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative from the founder of Facebook. This initiative aims to promote business ideas, job opportunities, and even some participants They get a position in the companies that people work their way into.

‘life sentence’

Boron stresses that it is essential for the prisoner to be in constant contact with new technologies: “The perfect example is the movie Life Sentence, starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. When one of the prisoners in charge of the library gets out, he is unable to fend for himself in a world he has been separated from for 40 years. Hence the initiative to use prisoners for Virtual reality and artificial intelligence To learn real world skills and succeed in a job interview.

There are also examples like Harel Hershtec, was imprisoned for 25 years for murder in Israel, during which time he received two doctorates in mathematics and chemistry. Hershetik claims to have created 31 companiesAmong them is Scentech Medical, a $250 million medical-applied tech startup that wants to create a breathalyzer for Covid.

However, there are those who argue that inmates are a burden that public money should not bear and that private companies are better off relieving some of that burden. At the expense of even charging guest families for services. We found an extreme case in El Salvador.

Gang members from Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18 stay together in formation at the maximum security penal center in Izalco. It was a measure of punishment imposed by Bukele after a spike in murders, which, however, did not last, even though the photo went viral.


your boss Nep Pokell The controversial The huge prison It proposed charging inmates’ families $170 for meals, clothing, and toiletries. . If this idea spreads to other prisons in the country, Bukele’s government may enter some of them 17 million dollars a monthHowever, there is no transparency in this type of groups.

And if they can’t afford it, they won’t be able to access these services. Another controversial issue is a Massachusetts bill that would allow inmates Trade your members for your freedom.

Boron explains that in the case of Spanish prisons, with the exception of the communities whose powers have been devolved, namely Catalonia and the Basque Country, for an average prison population of about 46,000 inmates, this means – Daily charges for each guest 74.7 euros. At this cost, logically speaking, the prisoner is given all the benefits he or she needs for admission to a correctional center. No additional charges will be considered. Because that would generate differences between The rich prisoner and the poor prisoner“, precise.

The technological advances introduced into prisons make the possibility of 360-degree surveillance a reality.

Professor Del Rosal adds that the more space technology and the company earns by providing services, that also leaves a greater possibility intrusion into the lives of inmates. Thus, the US company JPay installed the electronic messaging service as the only way to communicate with family members. Although there are companies that offer this service for free to other users today, JPay charges a fee in prisons and gives a commission to prisons for each message sent. For some it is Quiet and easy machine to make a lot of money.

maximum vigilance

A step forward in the use of technology is given by China With his idea of ​​smart prisons that includes tracking bracelets To determine the geolocation and monitor the guest’s heart rate andbots Drug detectors, and in Yancheng Prison they use Artificial intelligence and biometrics Evidence of escape and suspicious behaviour. One of its founders is Tiandy, one of the largest technology watch companies in the world, and they have plans to bring this model to Latin America.

These technologies are also used in Spain. In Catalonia, for example, Generalitat has given Inetum the development of an AI-based system that makes it possible to anticipate and anticipate incidents that may occur within the Masia Enrique Correctional Center.

The open debate is: How far should we go with this 360-degree surveillance? Crime trade behind bars, some businesses have turned Punishment in a useful thing. We are seeing a growing trend, and the question remains: What do we do in prisons? Retribution or rehabilitation?

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