June 06, 2014

We Need A Post-Warehouse Prison: Learning from Shimane Asahi Rehabilitation Center

"Interesting" is the comment I hear most frequently when presenting this new line of research. That's exactly what I said when I came across it and what motivated me to explore further this high-tech, public private partnership prison/rehabilitation center that strives to be a good partner to the community. Their literature mentions the idea of creating "prisons the public could understand and support." 

I've continued to study Shimane Asahi Rehabilitation Center because it is also important. In working to create what they call a model prison for the next 50 years, the Japanese studied privatization and rehabilitation; they went through the literature to find "what works" and traveled extensively to learn about programs. 

The US has a bloated system of warehouse prisons that are the model for no one in the world. But we are not having a discussion about a new model, a model for the next 50 years - a post-warehouse prison.  We need to. The idea is not to copy what Japan did, but to recognize the need for and wisdom of such an effort, and to learn from their experience. Unfortunately, the main conversation is about privatization, which means trying to deliver the current warehouse prison system more cheaply and further entrenching not just a prison-industrial complex, but a warehouse prison-industrial complex.

This post lays out what I have done so far: a journal article, a TEDxEMU talk, and two presentations  that include/build on my prison privatization work. There's also a request for help translating some additional information about Shimane Asahi.


"A Model Prison for the next 50 years": The high-tech, public-private Shimane Asahi Rehabilitation Center" Justice Policy Journal v11#1 2014 (available free online - pdf)

ABSTRACT: The declining incarceration rate in America provides an opportunity to rethink the quality of prisons and ask: If you were told that your neighbors were newly released prisoners, what kind of institution would you want them to have served time in? One positive model of prison is a high-tech, public-private partnership prison that embraces rehabilitation, reentry and restorative justice – and that also strives to have the local community as a partner. The article reports on a visit to Shimane Asahi rehabilitation center in Japan. It provides background on the prison and Japan’s experiment with privatizing “social infrastructure.” The article then describes the involvement of the private sector and the infusion of technology, including tracking, scanners, and automated food delivery. Next, it provides an overview of numerous educational, therapeutic, and vocational programs. Finally, it discusses how the prison has a center for community engagement and makes many efforts to utilize the resources of the local region.


TEDxEMU: Thoughts from a day in a Japanese Prison

I actually did this talk before finishing the article, so it is not as sharp as how I would do it now. But I enjoyed the challenge of the time limit and trying to provide an inspiring direction. (12 minutes)


The University of Michigan's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute did a series of talks in 2014 on public-private partnerships, and I was invited to present on private prisons. The first half of this talk outlines the importance of getting the profit motive situated correctly with punishments, reviews the military-industrial complex, the prison-industrial complex and (the problems with) private prisons. The second part reviews what Japan did after studying our system: Their law created partnerships for rehabilitation centers, not prisons. The warden and his deputies are government employees who oversee a number of private sector contractors. It also includes some of the key info from the journal article noted above, with some pictures and graphics. I was pleased how this came out. 

Private Prisons in the US and Japan: Unleashing the profit Motive in Punishment and Rehabilitation

Download .pdf of presentation (4MB)

Download .pptx presentation (7MB)


I was also invited to be the keynote speaker for a Prison Awareness week sponsored by the University of Toledo's Law and Social Thought, and also by Toledoans for Prison Awareness. (Thanks to Alexandra Scarborough for the invite and arrangements.) This presentation has many of the same slides as the Osher lecture, but it is reshuffled and has more of an emphasis on prison reform. 

Thinking About A Post Warehouse Prison

Download .pdf of presentation (3MB)

Download .pptx presentation (8MB)

WGTE recorded the event for knowledgestream.org and the video is here. 



Shimane Asahi celebrated its 5th anniversary by having a symposium that presented evaluation results and updates on programs. They put those presentations together into a publication that I have a copy of, but I could use some help translating it from Japanese. (Here is the Table of Contents.) There are also two Japanese books on Shimane Asahi and would like to know more about what is in them. 

If you would be interested in translating or helping to underwrite some of the translation efforts, please contact me through the information on my website



Shimane Asahi website (English)

The problems with private prisons (2011 and 2013 presentations)

June 05, 2014

Manifestations of Poverty (lecture): The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison

The Honors College at EMU held a series of lectures this past year under the theme of 'Manifestations of Poverty.' I had the privilege of presenting the first lecture, highlighting the justice - and criminal justice - issues surrounding poverty and inequality. Part one of this lecture looks at various measures of inequality in income and wealth, including how corporate 'persons' factor in. Part two looks at how inequality impacts criminology and criminal justice. The lecture makes extensive use of Occupy Wall St posters (via occuprint.org).

The presentation is embedded below, followed by links for the .pdf, .pptx and the video via iTunes university. This builds on a few earlier lectures that are linked to under the 'related' heading. 

Manifestations of Poverty: The Rich get Richer and the Poor Get Prison


Download .pdf of presentation (2MB)

Download .pptx of presentation (8MB - 35 slides)

The talk is available on iTunes: Part 1 (my introduction starts at 6 minutes in) and  Part 2 (links will open up in iTunes).


Criminology Needs More Class: Inequality, Corporate Persons and an Impoverished Discipline (#occupy)

The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison: Inequality, Corporate Power and Crime (Sidore lecture at Plymouth State)

June 03, 2014

Understanding Domestic Violence

Last semester, a colleague invited me to do a presentation on Domestic Violence for her into to women and gender studies class. It was a good opportunity to draw on my teaching, service on the board of SafeHouse, and interest in art by survivors of domestic violence to create a presentation.

Enjoy and feel free to use it if you think it will be useful. It covers some of the basics and I hope to add to it over the long run. 

Understanding Domestic Violence: Why You Should Care, What You Should Know and How to Help



Download .pdf of presentation (3MB)

Download original .pptx files  (24.6MB)



Understanding Domestic Violence: Why should medical students care, what should they know and do

March 14, 2014

Understanding Domestic Violence: Why should medical students care, what should they know and do

I spoke over at the University of Michigan's Medical School to a student organization about domestic violence. I like how the presentation came out, with T-shirts and art by survivors liberally inserted with content and links. Because of the pictures, the original files are a bit large, but feel free to download, use, update.

Understanding Domestic Violence: Why should medical students care, what should they know and do

Download .pdf of presentation (2MB)

Download presentation as .pptx  (22MB)

Read on Scribd

April 19, 2013

The Problems with Private Prisons

I have followed up my co-authored Punishment for Sale book by giving several presentations, which I have posted below. The first is a general overview of concerns and critiques about private prisons that I presented at the International Criminology Congress in Kobe, Japan in 2011. The second is one I did for a statewide forum on prison privatization, mass incarceration and prison reform here in Michigan in 2013. While the latter is more specific in focusing on Michigan, its analysis is applicable to other states.

 The problems with private Prisons (2011 - International Criminology Congress)

Problems With Private Prisons (2011)

In case the embedded viewer does not work, it is available here via Scribd and as a .pdf from PaulsJusticePage.

Download the original Power Point .pptx slides.

The problems with private Prisons (2013 - Michigan Statewide Forum on Prison Privatization, Mass Incarceration and Prison Reform)

Problems With Private Prisons (2013)

In case the embedded viewer does not work, it is available here via Scribd and as a .pdf from PaulsJusticePage.

Download the original Power Point .pptx slides.

Information on Punishment for Sale from Amazon.com

Information from publisher: Rowman and Littlefield

An earlier blog entry about Punishment for Sale.

November 24, 2012

Criminology Needs More Class: Inequality, Corporate Persons and an Impoversihed Discipline

My presentation at the 2012 American Society of Criminology conference was entitled Criminology Needs More Class: Inequality, Corporate Persons and an Impoverished Discipline (#occupy). It is a condensed and updated version of the Sidore lecture I gave, The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison: Inequality, Corporate Power and Crime.

ABSTRACT:Criminology generally does not collect data on class, which is more likely to be "controlled” for than explained. The discipline is interested in psychopaths engaged in street crime but not white collar crime or the harms done by corporate “persons” who act without conscience. Strain theory is taught without reference to economic facts about wealth distributions or economic mobility. This paper provides an overview of class, reviews some of criminology’s blind spots and reaffirms class as important for a “rich” understanding of criminology.

Criminology Needs More Class: Inequality, Corporate Persons & an Impoverished Discipline

Download .pdf of presentation (3.5mb)

Download .pptx of presentation (6.8mb)

March 17, 2012

Inequality, Corporate Power and Crime Presentation

I had the pleasure of being invited to give the Saul Sidore lecture at Plymouth State University last week. It was titled The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison: Inequality, Corporate Power and Crime.

The first part of the lecture is an overview of class, including income, wealth, economic mobility and corporate power. It is descriptive rather than making a moral or justice argument (although it does report on some surveys on our feelings about inequality). 

The second part discusses implications of inequality for criminology based on Braithwaite's idea that inequality worsens both crimes of poverty motivated by need and crime of wealth motivated by greed. It includes a number of Occupy Wall Street posters, graphics and pictures. 

If you would like to view the presentation below, use the left button to switch to the full screen mode so all the text is legible.

Inequality, Corporate Power and Crime

The 39 slide Powerpoint (.pptx - 10mb) is available here.

The .pdf (3mb) is here.

Of related interest: Gregg Barak - my co-author on Class, Race, Gender & Crime - has written a short article on the Financially Respectable Crimes of Wall Street; he also has a the introduction posted from his forthcoming book Theft of a Nation: Wall Street Looting and Federal Regulatory Colluding.

UPDATE: While at the Sidore lecture, I met student journalist Wanda Waterman, who interviewed me on some other issues. Part 1 and Part 2.