Choose one (or more) institutions to compare to the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC). Decide on a set number of points of comparison. They might be:

  • historical era and geographic location
  • economic, gender and racial systems in place
  • environmental effects
  • political justifications that keep systems alive
  • ways the state maintains these systems

For each point of comparisons, try to come up with one sentence along the lines of “Just like ___________, the prison industrial complex…”

Example: Just like Homeland Security, the PIC claims to be about safety and order even though it really makes the lives of most people–especially people of color–less safe and more disordered.

Don’t worry about making your sentences to include EVERY point of comparison. Make as many as you ant, and try to emphasize the connections that will be most motivating or illuminating.

You can also run this exercise the opposite way: what are the dissimilarities?

And you can also choose to compare an institution to one piece of the prison industrial complex to start, or even reverse the order of what you’re comparing.

ExampleJust like prisons, schools use punishment to intimidate students and rewards as incentives to control youth. 

Now, you try! What connections do you see between healthcare & policing?

Sentence starter: Just like policing, our healthcare system…