Toward a Conceptualization of the College-Prison Nexus

While a robust body of research has documented the intricate relationship between our nation’s education and penal systems, the weight of this work has focused on primary and secondary schools, absolving colleges and universities of their role in the carceral state. In this essay, we describe some of the ways in which higher education institutions exert carceral state powers that are mostly subtle and covert though sometimes overt as well; institutional innovations that increase penality and exacerbate racial and social inequality; and the creation of pathways to and forms of punishment. We introduce the concept of the college-prison nexus, as a heuristic for scholars to consider in future theorizing and empirical examinations of the symbiotic relationship between postsecondary education institutions and the penal system. We close with recommendations for future research.



Work Title Toward a Conceptualization of the College-Prison Nexus
Open Access
  1. Royel M. Johnson
  2. Jude Paul Matias Dizon
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. Peabody Journal of Education
Publication Date November 15, 2021
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
Deposited July 21, 2022




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  • Added Toward_a_Conceptualization_of_the_College_Prison_Nexus.pdf
  • Added Creator Royel M. Johnson
  • Added Creator Jude Paul Matias Dizon
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    • 2021-01-01
    • 2021-11-15
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