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Behind Bars: A Guide to Understanding the Prison Industrial Complex: Mass Incarceration

This guide is intended as an introduction to the terms and concepts associated with the Prison Industrial Complex in America.

An Overview of Mass Incarceration

In this short animated video, sociologist Bruce Western explains the concept of mass incarceration and more specifically, the impact of mass incarceration on the African American community. This is a great resource for students unfamiliar with the meaning of the term since in provides detailed visuals to go along with the facts.


"Ta-Nehisi Coates Outlines Path To Mass Incarceration In 'The Atlantic'"

In this interview with NPR, author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates discusses the criminalization of blackness in America and how it has led to disproportionate rates of mass incarceration in the black community. Students looking to further familiarize themselves with the concept of mass incarceration and its effects on the black community are also encouraged to read Coates' article "The Black Family In The Age Of Mass Incarceration," which was published by The Atlantic in 2015.

Books on Mass Incarceration