Justice for sale: the rhetoric of for profit probation and rehabilitation

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Phillip Jason Huber (Creator)
Institution
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site: http://library.wcu.edu/
Advisor
Jonathan Bradshaw

Abstract: This work analyzes the rhetoric of for-profit probation and rehabilitation companies in the United States. In particular, this study examines how dichotomies have shifted our social understanding of the word “criminal” and created an environment where a justice system mediated by money can thrive. This study uses Kenneth Burke’s theories of identification and division, Ann E. Berthoff’s theories of dichotomies and dialectic, and Michel Foucault’s theories of power relations and ceremonies of punishment, and focuses on Paulo Freire’s practice of world building and James Porter et al’s practice of institutional critique to find points of intervention that are available to rhetoric and composition scholars. Chapter One argues that Reagan’s revival of the war on drugs reframed addicts as criminals in need of incarceration rather than persons in need of help. That rhetoric created a dialectic framework that made dichotomous points out of criminals and the rest of America. Chapter Two analyzes for-profit probation and rehabilitation companies as rhetorical constructs and examines how rhetorical agency is formed and articulated within those constructs. Further, Chapter Two offers insights from interviews to analyze how communication practices shape what it means to be a criminal in the United States and how they shape what is acceptable in punishing criminals. Interviews from participants that have been through both for-profit probation and rehabilitation companies, as well as document analysis of house bills, and rhetorical analysis of the ways for-profit companies market themselves to communities and potential employers are utilized to illustrate the gaps and fissures between how companies represent themselves and what their practices are. This study offers a reflection on and analysis of the communication practices of for-profit probation and rehabilitation companies, and is a stepping-stone to the active practice of institutional critique and world building.

Additional Information

Publication
Thesis
Language: English
Date: 2017
Keywords
criminal, drug, For-profit, Probation, Rehabilitation, Rhetoric

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