Private security’s role in shaping US foreign policy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter

1 Scopus citations


This chapter offers an overview of the privatization of punishment in the United States. It pays particular attention to the private prison and detention industries, which have become popularly known as the ‘prison industrial complex’. The chapter argues that the privatization of punishment-in its many forms-reflects the increased blurring of the public/private sectors. It also argues that the privatization of punishment serves multiple functions such as the construction of criminality, the management of marginalized populations, and the extension of sovereign power through the private sector. The chapter describes one component of privatized punishment that shows no immediate signs of decline-the privatization of migrant detention centres. It also describes the privatization of the sovereignty function allows the state to extend its reach through private corporations but with less regulation and oversight. The chapter concludes by anticipating the growth of the industry in yet another emerging market; the incarceration of migrant children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Private Security Studies
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781317914334
ISBN (Print)9781315850986
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • General Social Sciences


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