72 Fla. L. Rev. 127 (2020)
View the article via pdf


Criminal Law


This Note sheds light on state practices that take advantage of vulnerable, captive consumers: inmates. States regularly negotiate contracts relating to services and benefits for inmates, using inmates—a captive market—to enrich themselves. States make key decisions, force changes, and earn profits by implementing contracts that affect inmates and explicitly block inmates from pursuing any standing to negotiate the contracts or to sue for any contractual breaches. A current controversy that provides an example of states’ consciously taking advantage of captive consumers involves giving, taking, and altering access to music and video devices. In that scenario, as a state continues to switch providers and increase profits, inmates must blindly surrender prior contract benefits in exchange for a new, different set of benefits and burdens. In such situations, inmates suffer both tangible and intangible losses, and states often disregard the adverse effects their business decisions may have on captive markets—especially when a state’s profit is completely dependent on its captive consumers. This Note focuses on the states’ gain and proposes a novel theory of unjust enrichment recovery if, in fact, prisons are unjustly benefiting at inmates’ expense. Read More.