This paper utilizes the concept of the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) in order to examine the complex configuration comprised of the US prison system, multi-national corporations, small private businesses and the inmate population in the social and political economy of the 21st century US. Utilizing data on the PIC we pose the question: What is the purpose of prison, the rehabilitation of the inmates or the exploitation of prison labor? Specifically we argue, using Wright's neo-Marxist theory, that the current system of incarceration in the US mimics the exploitation characteristic of the slave plantation economy of the southern US, ripe with human rights violations, the products and profits of which are exported daily through the expansion of global markets.