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CRIME CONTROL The rapid growth of the crime control industry is a frightening aspect of contemporary US society Incarceration represents the ultimate form of surveillance 24 hours a day within four walls monitored by humans by machines restricted in their movements We are witnessing the creation of gulags In 1993 Norwegian criminologist Nils Christie published his seminal study Crime Control as Industry This study examined the expansion of what Christie labeled the crime control industry in western democracies The full title of Christies book published only in 1993 was Crime Control as Industry Towards GULAGS Western Style Two years later Christie prepared an update of the book The title was the same with one exception Christie no longer asked the question towards GULAGS Western style Gulags according to Christie were now fact not speculation Lest you think that Christie was indulging in a bit of academic hyperbole by using the terms gulags let me point out that the United States the focus of much of Christies book has the highest rate of incarceration in the Western world A recent CBC radio program Ideas noted that in the early 1970s the state of Texas had about 14000 people in its jails Today the number is ten times that high That same program cited a Rand Corporation estimate that by the year 2002 prison spending will consume 18 per cent of Californias resources In the United States one in three young black males is under some form of criminal justice supervision read surveillance on any given day Ernie Drucker of the Montefiore Medical Center in New York noted recently that the rate of incarceration of young black males in the United States was twice the rate of incarceration in the Soviet Union during the worst years of Stalins regime Many of those young black males are in prison for drug crimes Despite levels of drug use being almost identical between blacks and whites in the
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