THE BLOG
11/25/2013 02:14 pm ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

With Marijuana Legal, New Criminal Class Needed

Julian Hibbard via Getty Images

Novel ad campaign targets white guys

Washington -- With many states moving toward legalization of marijuana, an unintended crisis has emerged.

Economists anticipate that with 50 percent of black teens no longer funneled into the criminal justice system, the prison industry will need to find new customers or face extinction by 2020.

The industry has hired the BUZZcru agency to attract those new customers with a North American media campaign, using the slogan, "Prisons: they're not just for blacks and Latinos anymore."

"The concept is simple," explained Creative Director Troy Post. "People have a fixed idea in their heads about what a criminal is. He's black. He's Latino. He has a hoodie. We're saying no, open your minds."

Market research shows that the largest growth sector for illegal behavior is in corporate management.

Prison owners hope to tap into that fertile market by appealing to local municipalities to get white collar criminals into the system early, where they can become lifelong customers.

"If we can get suburban white guys into our many excellent prisons with charges that make them unable to find work again in the mainstream economy, it's win win," said Prison CEO Dan Norseman.

"One more loyal customer for the world's premier incarceration industry, one less guy peddling complex derivatives on the street."

"We're asking local sheriff's departments, county police and prosecutors to start getting more aggressive," he added. "Jailbreak your iPhone and you're going to jail."

"These are gateway crimes to murder and rape. If we don't lock these people up now, they'll be coming after our wives and daughters."

In Washington, where the prison industry employs scores of lobbyists and contributes to both parties, a bill -- expected to sail through Congress -- criminalizes over-sharing on Facebook along with instagramming anything that is or might be mistaken for a cat.

Industry leaders are confident that with the right mix of marketing and lobbying muscle, the horrific overcrowding that is the hallmark of our criminal justice system can continue to astonish the world -- with only a small change in the color of inmates.