My article “The Submerged Prison State: Punishment, private interests, and the politics of public accountability” has been accepted for publication at Punishment and Society.

Here’s the abstract:

Much of the US penal state is ‘submerged,’ in the sense that Suzanne Mettler uses the term. There are networks of rules and regulations that link public funds, services, and institutions to various private interests with far reaching consequences. These networks are largely a stealth presence in the lives of citizens and their subterranean status, I argue, warps the wider politics of punishment. Resources are circulated along this network in such a way revenue is generated for some, costs cut for others, all in the shadow of public law. To the extent that this kind of redistribution lacks citizens’ consent and approval, it also represents a potentially undemocratic development. Here, I show how the obscured visibility of these public-private connections distorts public attitudes about, and public support for, the penal state. The final pages draw out the normative implications of that distortion.


access to justice, civil law, tax expenditures, carceral state, privatization, regulation, politics of punishment, democratic theory