prison as a market to penetrate

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Irelia20150604

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi everyone! I don't quite understand the sentence "prison as a market to penetrate". What does it mean?

The context is as follows:
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There's that looking-glass again: prison as a refuge, prison as a market to penetrate. Prison as home too - there are plenty of stories of men who come in here and find food and a bed, which are denied them outside. At its most benign, there is the man I watched getting ready for his release who tried and failed to buckle up the trousers he had been wearing when he was convicted a couple of months earlier: three meals a day had changed his size.

source: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2005/jun/23/ukcrime.immigrationpolicy
 
  • Juhasz

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    If you penetrate a market, you begin selling goods or services to a group of consumers. In this case, the prison is the market, suggesting that either prisoners, or prison operators are the consumers. Just from this context, it sounds like people are trying to be sent to prison so that they can sell things there, which seems like a very strange idea, but I think that's the author's point.
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    The paragraphs immediately before this describe bringing drugs into the prison to sell, so Juhasz is correct.

    Much of the article is about how, for some people, life inside is better and easier than life outside.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Here is a copy of the USA Federal Bureau of Prisons commissary price list: http://www.bop.gov/locations/institutions/oad/OAX_CommList.pdf

    They list food, over-the-counter medications, clothing, and consumables like batteries and pens and postage stamps. So there is ample opportunities to sell to the Federal Prison systems.

    Additionally the Federal Prisons operates a manufacturing branch called "Unicor" and they use supplies for manufacturing. So there are several opportunities in the Federal system.
    The article doesn't talk about selling stuff legitimately to prisons. It does talk about steps to keep illegal drugs out of prisons, and this ties in with the idea of prison as a refuge from the horrors of the outside world.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    The article doesn't talk about selling stuff legitimately to prisons. It does talk about steps to keep illegal drugs out of prisons, and this ties in with the idea of prison as a refuge from the horrors of the outside world.
    I didn't read the link. I read her context and the post following it. I am undecided whether to delete my post or let it stand. I will give it some thought.
     
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