James Braxton Peterson.
Illustrated by John Jennings.
Prison Industrial Complex For Beginners is a
graphic narrative project that attempts to distill
the fundamental components of what scholars,
activists, and artists have identified as the Mass
Incarceration movement in the United States.
As far back as the early 1990s, activist critics of
the US prison system, marked its emergence
as a “complex” in a manner comparable to
how President Eisenhower identified modern
developments in military contractual arrangements
and the monetary incentives that were poised
to over-determine the ethics of warfare and
the purpose of arms development – the Military Industrial Complex. Like its
institutional “cousin,” the Prison Industrial Complex features a critical combination
of political ideology, far-reaching federal policy, and the neo-liberal directive to
privatize institutions traditionally within the purview of the government.