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View Diary: Ending the Prison-Industrial Complex (134 comments)

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  •  It's a business model, pure and simple..... (60+ / 0-)

    Wackenhut used to brag about the who's who of the defense department that were invested with them.  Many of our lawmakers are invested.  They have since removed the lists from their website, but when I looked at it some years ago, I was aghast.

    So.  You create a private prison industry on the premise that government can't do the job as well, you  create mandatory sentencing guidelines to keep people in jail for long periods of time even for first offenders, you create more and more draconian laws regarding drug-use and there you have it!

    A prison-slave population that isn't really a criminal element, many just pot smokers.  Many not only have skills, but can learn more.  So you set-up telephone banks and various other businesses that can be run by prison populations and pay them pennies - it's even cheaper than China.

    Ron Johnson who took Feinburg's seat in Wisconsin was accused of using prison labor in his businesses, apparently there exist tax incentives to do same.

    It needs to end, we need to release all but the most egregious offenders and return to a civil society.  While you are feeling "sorry" for those who  have ended up in jail, don't think for a moment it can't happen to you or yours.  Once in the "system" it is almost impossible to get out.  

    •  Read Bob Sloan series for more about business (11+ / 0-)

      I had loosely been following the industry's money & lobbying engine, and its effect on immigration and sentencing law. I had also noticed its corrupting effect on courts. Mostly I care about the money states spend on prisons, to the expense of education, health and infrastructure. I didn't take much notice of the prison-labor issue until reading this diary about a "strike" by Georgia prisoners.

      Slave Labor - A Calm Revolt in Georgia Brings This Issue to the National Spotlight
      By planning this strike and making their intentions known to those on the outside, prison officials learned about the impending activity and they also began planning their response. Prison facilities were placed on lock-down to keep inmates confined to their housing units. Staffing was increased and the prison CERT teams put on standby. This team of officers Corrections Emergency Response Team are trained to handle most situations encountered in the prison environment - except response to non-violent protests. The standard response? Violent and immediate action to maintain control. In this instance it resulted in unnecessary brutality at more than one facility.

      ...

      Chief among those remaining reasons is the basis for the strike in the first place - the slave labor atmosphere created by making those incarcerated labor for free or pennies on the dollar. They labor daily to manufacture products we use daily. Sure, many work to keep the prisons running; maintenance, food service, laundry, cleaning and other daily work that allows prisons to function. But a large segment of those imprisoned who have the skills needed by prison industries, are put to work making money for those industries and many corporations they're partnered with.

      I had thought that most of the prison work programs were either in-prison training, or work-release options to local businesses. His latest has some more of the business methods and implications, that you might be interested in.

      Slave Labor - Is not training prisoners, it is working them full time for Corporate Gains!

      That's 3.9 million labor hours that were not done by civilian workers and at least $75 million that was lost to private sector manufacturers. ... They have so screwed up the figures nobody can positively pin them down on labor, sales, recidivism and how many inmates are actually benefiting from this "Slave labor" program called Training by the prison industry operators, corporations partnered with them and the Department of Justice.

      Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

      by chimpy on Mon Jan 24, 2011 at 10:46:28 AM PST

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    •  And there is the answer! (11+ / 0-)

      Prison privatization has been an unmitigated disaster for justice and human rights, but a golden-egg-laying goose for lowlife profiteers like Wackenhut and CCC.

      I remember reading an article at least ten years ago that closed with the line

      ...there's no incentive for rehabilitation. An empty cell is a liability, while a prisoner with a life sentence is a pretty good annuity.

      And the PIC goes beyond the private prison industry itself; every ancillary industry is a beneficiary of our human-rights-violating incarceration policies and is a charter member of the PIC. The same article talked about a food-service company bragging in its annual report that the prison industry was the fastest-growing sector of the institutional food-service industry.

      Finally, in a Fresh Air interview (again, many years ago) with Marc Mauer of The Sentencing Project, Mr. Mauer described the many other "conventional" industries that benefit from the misery inflicted upon society's most vulnerable members by the PIC: telecommunications (AT&T), construction, manufacturers of everything from razor wire to electronic monitoring systems. He talked about full-page advertisement after full-page advertisement for such products and services in magazines such as Corrections Quarterly. It was sickening. Just as our corrupt and failing nation depends heavily on war to fatten the coffers of a few at the expense of the many, it also depends heavily on locking up increasing numbers of increasingly non-threatening members of our society to fatten the coffers of the corporate Prison-Industrial Complex.

      "Bernie Madoff's mistake was stealing from the rich. If he'd stolen from the poor he'd have a cabinet position." -OPOL

      by blue in NC on Mon Jan 24, 2011 at 11:17:15 AM PST

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