Sunday, August 17, 2014

The History of Post-Vietnam Military Investment in Criminal Justice


Hal Pepinsky,, “peacemaking” at

August 17, 2014


When I started teaching criminal justice in 1970, the Law Enforcement of the Justice was selling military equipment like mad, and the National Institute of Justice was releasing research reports, as on the stopping power of handgun bullets, as the Vietnam war drew down. The Justice Department also funded "tactical squads," now known as SWAT teams. At the official end of the Cold War in 1989, "economic conversion" brought a whole array of military hardware, especially adapted to prison construction and security. I was once at the American Correctional Association meeting during the period. With Salvation Army chaplains scattered along and amidst the technical exhibit, the array from barbed wire to portable cells, to firepower including tasers. was awesome. And so, here we go again, startled by how much hardware the Defense Department is selling police.  Let's not fail to notice the longstanding synergy between the military- and prison-industrial complexes. love and peace, hal

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