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Many times I've been asked how I got involved on these issues - prison labor and mass incarceration - and I've had to explain my interest.  This has happened time and again.

In an effort of apprising everyone about why I became so interested and write so passionately about these and related issues, I wanted to write this diary to not only show what has been happening to us because of this insidious agenda, but how.

The agenda advanced by the Conservative lawmakers and corporations belonging to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been an ongoing affair from the early 1980's and as described below, began fully exploiting prisoners for their labor in earnest in 1998.  This agenda includes several variables designed to drive down civilian wages, eliminate private sector jobs and to allow large corporations to continue their market presence while going after the markets and sales of smaller competing companies - "Mom and Pop" or family run small businesses that are/were openly competing against the large manufacturers.

In addition they sought to divert large amounts of taxpayer dollars from funding state operations involved with incarceration, to corporations through privatization and other conservative efforts.  One of the more nefarious corporations involved in this - and in fact led the way from 1999 through 2004 was U.S. Technologies, Inc., a Delaware corporation operating out of Lockhart, Texas.

I came across U.S. Technologies in this article that mentioned a new PIECP program approved by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA, Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises (PRIDE Enterprises) and the state of Florida's Department of Correction.  So I did a little research on US Technologies and their subsidiaries and was led to the article linked to below.

Here is a link to the 1999 SEC 10-K filing of U.S. Technologies, Inc.(stock traded as USXX), and their wholly owned subsidiary, Labor-to-Industry, Inc. (LTI).  Here is a description of the "company's" intent, actual operations and those involved in running the company.  This document demonstrates their involvement in manufacture of IT, EM products, furniture, motorcycles and their acquisition of privately owned companies manufacturing these and similar products and removing the companies and jobs from the private sector and turning the labor over to prisoners to perform at near slave labor wages.

Here are descriptions and information taken directly from their SEC filings.  I urge all to read the actual documents linked to above to corroborate my opinions, as I'm sure some will regard this diary as providing false information as propaganda disseminated against the Republicans and their Conservative faction - all belonging to ALEC:

OUTSOURCING OPERATIONS                                                          

The Company is an "outsourcing company" soliciting manufacturing, assembly, repair, kitting and fulfillment services from Fortune 1000 and other select businesses. The Company performs its services utilizing prison labor under the Prison Industry Enhancement Program ("PIE"). Congress created the PIE program in 1979 to encourage states and local units of government to establish employment opportunities for prisoners that approximate private sector work opportunities. The program is designed to place inmates in a realistic working environment, pay them the local prevailing wage for similar work, and enable them to acquire marketable skills to increase their potential for successful rehabilitation and meaningful employment upon release. The PIE Program has two primary objectives:                                                            

   To generate products and services that enable prisoners to make a
       contribution to society, help offset the cost of their incarceration,
compensate crime victims, and provide inmate family support.  

       To provide a means of reducing prison idleness, increasing inmate job
      skills, and improving the prospects for successful inmate transition to the community upon release.                                

The Company, directly or indirectly through its wholly-owned operating subsidiary LTI, employs a portion of the inmates at each prison facility through a competitive process and designs the work environment to motivate and train each participant in the specific job skills of the contracted work and the general skills required to obtain and hold long-term employment as well as how to advance in employment in a competitive work environment. This training is crucial for many prisoners, who may have never held a job before their conviction. The PIE program allows for up to 80% of the prisoners' wages to be withheld for the purpose of paying restitution to victims, fines, reimbursing the cost of incarceration, alimony, child support, taxes and a restricted savings account. In this way, the PIE program aids in reducing costs to taxpayers and is a savings vehicle to assist the former inmate's transition back into society. Further, the program has been very successful in reducing the rate of recidivism, within the participating inmate population, according to the Federal Bureau of Justice and Assistance.                                

In August 1997, the Company entered into an agreement with Wackenhut Corrections Corporation ("WCC") whereby WCC agreed to allow the Company to operate as its "industry partner" in any correctional facility managed by WCC. WCC also agreed to determine the products it purchases from third parties, and to the extent possible, purchase such products from the Company. WCC operates 47 corrections facilities in the United States, Australia, England and Canada and is the second largest manager of privatized correctional facilities in the United States. In February 1998, the Company reached an agreement with the states of California and Florida to expand its operations into corrections facilities managed by those states.                                            

LTI operates an electronics manufacturing plant at WCC's Lockhart, Texas corrections facility. The Company currently operates a furniture manufacturing plant in a California Department of Corrections facility located in Blythe, California. The Company's customer call center operation, which had been located in a Utah Department of Corrections facility located in Draper, Utah, ceased operations during the first quarter of 1999 and has not reopened. The Company is currently awaiting the completion of the construction of a motorcycle parts operation, which is located in a WCC facility in South Bay, Florida.      

The Company was incorporated on September 9, 1986. The Company's principal executive offices are located at 2001 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 675 in Washington, DC 20006, and its phone number is (202) 466-2100.                  


The Company's strategy is to establish itself as a national leader in the employment of prison labor in a variety of business sectors. To that end, the Company utilizes the PIE program to perform its services by using a low-cost, but highly-motivated labor pool, in modern, clean and efficient facilities. The Company intends to operate the business in a simple and straight-forward manner by maintaining corporate overhead at its present level during the Company's expansion. The Company's strategy also includes the following:                                                                      

     Utilize existing expertise in electronics manufacturing to seek new business opportunities and to fully utilize all of LTI's electronic assembly facility in Lockhart, Texas;                        

       Provide ancillary services such as the assembly of kits (kitting) and installation of parts associated with the primary electronics manufacturing process;                                        

       Expand the Company's furniture manufacturing operations by increasing its modular furniture production capabilities and introducing other furniture products; and

       Evaluate the Company's ability to provide fulfillment services.

Management believes that additional capacity can be added, beyond the existing facilities, without significant additional corporate overhead.                  

GROWTH STRATEGY. The Company has established a sound working relationship with WCC and seeks to expand that relationship by going into additional WCC facilities with available industry workspace to establish successful PIE programs. The Company is also working with state-run (non-privatized) correctional facilities where industry work space is available to establish PIE work programs. In addition to LTI's successful electronics manufacturing facility in Lockhart, Texas, the Company will open a motorcycle parts manufacturing and assembly facility in a WCC facility located in South Bay, Florida during the second quarter of 2000 and continue to seek additional customers for its furniture manufacturing facility located in Blythe, California. The Company is evaluating several options regarding its opportunities for entry into the fulfillment industry. The Company is also evaluating the strategic acquisition of successfully run companies whose services and products would be suitable for expansion into a prison industry work program.                                                                  

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES                                        

Through LTI, the Company's operations have been primarily focused in two industries, electronics manufacturing (EM) and furniture manufacturing. The EM industry has been characterized by rapid growth and aggressive competition based on improving technology and decreasing cost. In 1998, the Company entered the furniture manufacturing and the customer call center industries. The Company ceased its call center operations during the first quarter of 1999. During 2000, the Company is scheduled to open a facility, which will provide parts manufacture and assembly services to a motorcycle manufacturer.          

Electronics Manufacturing. As a member of the electronics manufacturing provider ("EMP") industry the Company, through LTI, provides several services including contract manufacturing, cable and wire harness assembly and printed circuit board assembly. Given the emergence of new technologies and the proliferation of electronics into virtually all segments of the world economy, management believes the Company is poised for significant sustainable growth in the years ahead.                                                                

Original equipment manufacturers ("OEM") such as Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Lucent, Texas Instruments and many others are increasingly relying on EMPs for assembly and other value-added services. Many OEMs have begun to view outsourcing as a strategic tool which allows them to focus their efforts on resources and core competencies resulting in improved flexibility and responsiveness in all segments of their business. The benefits of outsourcing by the OEM include: improved time to market since new products can be turned on quickly by an EMP without the cost and time required for the OEM to re-tool; access to state of the art manufacturing facilities and technologies without the need for the OEM to invest in facilities capital equipment; and lower production and procurement costs since EMP's can efficiently purchase many generic components. Finally, EMP's typically do not bear the same overhead and benefit burdens typically incurred by OEMs.                                    

Furniture Manufacturing. Through its furniture manufacturing facility, the Company manufactures panels and associated parts for use in the office workstation industry. The Company's automated facility is capable of producing a high quality panel comparable to those produced and sold by Herman Miller and Steelcase. The Company's product is designed to be interchangeable with several manufacturers of office furniture.                                              

Motorcycle Manufacturing. The Company's motorcycle parts manufacturing and assembly facility, which will be located in a WCC facility in South Bay, Florida, is scheduled to begin operations in the second quarter of 2000. Initially, the facility will be manufacturing, painting and polishing various motorcycle body parts with the intention of eventually accomplishing complete parts manufacture and assembly of motorcycles.                                  


Within the EMP industry the Company promotes its services primarily in the Southwest region of the United States. The market for its EM services is the multi-billion dollar electronics industry. LTI specializes in production of circuit boards which are ordered in shorter production runs and therefore do not have to compete with the larger companies in the industry who have invested millions of dollars in high speed production equipment capable of continuous production runs creating hundreds of thousands of boards. LTI's customer base consists of over 200 customers, none of whom accounted for more than 15% of the Company's 1999 sales volume.                                                    

The major market served by the Company's furniture manufacturing facility is the replacement workstation market. This market is dominated by a few large companies who offer alternatives to purchasing the higher priced products of Herman Miller and Steelcase. These companies offer finished products which are interchangeable with the more expensive products, but at a considerably lower price. In November 1999, the Company's contract with Affordable Interior Systems, the only customer of Blythe, was cancelled. The Company has since contracted with another manufacturer and started producing their panels in January 2000. This manufacturer requires approximately one-shift of the operating capabilities of the Blythe facility. The Company is actively seeking other customers to increase the plant's output.                                                    

The Company's motorcycle assembly plant will, initially, have only one customer, American Quantum Motorcycles ("American Quantum"). However, the Company will explore other customer opportunities in conjunction with American Quantum. The contract with American Quantum involves marking up the Company's labor component of the facility while passing through and being reimbursed in full for all other costs incurred to operate the facility.                      

The Company is dependent upon certain customers for a major portion of its sales. High End (a customer of the LTI segment) accounted for 15% of sales for the years ended December 31, 1999. The sales of services to IBM represented approximately 43% and 66% for the years ended December 31, 1998 and 1997, respectively. Texas Instruments accounted for approximately 7% and 19% of total sales for the years ended December 31, 1998 and 1997, respectively. Amounts due from three customers, Dell, Vektronix (customers of the LTI segment) and AIS (a customer of the LTI - Blythe segment), constituted 87% of the Company's accounts receivable at December 31, 1999. IBM and Texas Instruments, along with other customers, High End Systems and Wyle EMG, comprised approximately 16% of net accounts receivable at December 31, 1998. The Company generally does not require collateral on its trade accounts receivable.


The competition in the Company's EM and furniture manufacturing segments consists of numerous small, regional companies and a significantly smaller group of large national companies. The Company competes directly with the smaller regional companies and avoids the markets dominated by the national companies. When competing with smaller regional companies, the Company has a distinct cost advantage created through the use of provided manufacturing facilities and not having to provide the same benefits, (medical, dental, etc.) to prison inmates as companies that rely exclusively on free-world employees.  

In the case of the motorcycle parts facility, the Company has no direct competition, as the Company has a contract to produce the manufacturing requirements of American Quantum. However, the Company's revenues will be directly effected by the competitive market conditions in the road bike industry where American Quantum competes in an industry dominated by Harley Davidson, Honda and to a lesser extent, BMW.

All of this is bad enough to small businesses that were in an unknown competition against prison industry manufacture and sales of prison made goods.  What makes this even more insidious is that these companies involved in exploiting prison labor have it figured so that the state taxpayers will also foot the bill for their leasing of taxpayer owned property and manufacturing facilities.  Buildings built with tax dollars were to be leased to these companies for next to nothing - and in addition, taxpayers were going to pay for the utilities necessary to operate huge plants, machinery and other equipment including ovens to bake painted goods, gas used for smelting and other furnaces, electricity to power equipment and provide lighting.  Their agreements with some of the prison industries included utility subsidization by the prison - and we all know that subsidization comes from tax dollars.

The Company's wholly-owned subsidiary, LTI operates in a minimum security prison under an agreement with WCC, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice ("TDCJ"), the Division of Pardons and Parole (the "Division") and the City of Lockhart, Texas. The lease on the Lockhart facility provides approximately 27,800 square feet of manufacturing and office space through January 21, 2001, and provides an automatic three year extension unless notification is given by either party at least 6 months prior to the expiration date of the current term not to renew. The amount of square footage may be increased or decreased depending upon the number of prisoners employed. The lease also provides for annual rental rates of $1 per year for the primary term and the first renewal term thereafter. Occupancy fees for successive renewal terms shall be negotiated by written agreement of the parties. It is expected that similar operating leases will be executed at other WCC facilities.        

LTI also operates in a minimum-security prison at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison located in Blythe, California. The lease on the Blythe facility provides approximately 36,300 square feet of manufacturing and office space through August 31, 2003. The lease also provides for monthly payments of $726.          

The facility, which the Company's motorcycle parts operation will occupy, is located in a WCC minimum security prison located in South Bay, Florida. The lease on the South Bay facility provides approximately 20,500 square feet of manufacturing and office space through October of 2006. The lease provides for annual rental payments of $1.00.

Now we move on to who would be involved in such a nefarious use of near slave labor for profits - and to take jobs away from the private sector and unfairly compete against the smaller corporations?  Here they are:

       -        General Alexander M. Haig, Jr., former Secretary of State and White House Chief of Staff;                
       -        The Honorable George J. Mitchell, former Senator from Maine and Senate Majority Leader;                
        -        The Honorable William H. Webster, former Director of both the FBI and CIA;                                
       -        Rick Rickersten, partner at Thayer Capital, a leading                  investment management firm headquartered in Washington, D.C.;
       -        Hal Wilson and Peter Schiff, Managing Directors of Northwood Ventures LLC and Northwood Capital Partners LLC, venture capital investment firms headquartered in New York; and
    -        Arthur Maxwell, President of Affordable Interior Systems, Inc., one of the 25 largest commercial furniture manufacturers in the United States.  

Ever wonder where all those products returned to the manufacturer were refurbished?  Well, guess no further - in prisons across the country, like the one this article talks about.

Of course there is never a mention of profits earned or the financial impact upon other businesses in this kind of thing.  Instead everyone speaks of "training" of inmates in this kind of program and how beneficial it will be to them when they are released.  Everyone is led to believe that this kind of exploitation is for the benefit of the inmates being worked - and not the corporations raking in millions of dollars off of their labor.  In addition they report - over and over again - how these joint business ventures benefit the taxpayers by reimbursing them for the costs of incarceration and further tell us that not one penny of tax dollars is used to subsidize these operations.

As I reported in other diaries, this is all disinformation designed to make us feel all warm and fuzzy about prison industries and the corporations partnering with them and actually using some - or most - of the available prisoners.  We're informed that this isn't costing us a penny, all these industries and operations are self-sustaining, when in fact it is just the opposite as money earmarked to offset the costs of incarceration are diverted back to the prison industries as additional profits.

First ALEC created the laws that resulted in the huge increases in prison population and the money needed to house and care for these men and women.  Then they created laws to introduce privatized prison operations on behalf of ALEC members CCA and Geo Group.  ALEC then proposed laws to expand prison industries and corporate participation at both the state and federal level.  Right in the middle of all of this are companies such as 3M, AT&T, IBM, Boeing and hundreds of others belonging to or funding ALEC and benefiting off of the laws the ALEC Conservative lawmakers manage to get enacted - such as SB 1070 in AZ. last year.  We all know how involved ALEC, Koch and CCA were in that fiasco that is going to cost taxpayers in AZ. and other states as the feds pursue litigation on that law.

PIE wages paid to inmates are supposed to be prevailing but have been reduced to minimum wage or less - as corporations seek more profits - then all benefits they are required to pay to civilian workers were denied to inmate workers.  Corners were cut on security and other necessary requirements and it wasn't done to save us a penny - rather it was done to increase the income to those using prisoners as a slave work force.

I forced the BJA and the Department of Justice to fully investigate the operations of one of the worst prison labor exploiters in the nation - PRIDE Enterprises, Inc - out of Florida in 2009.  I finally received a full report of the investigation's findings yesterday.  I will blog next time and inform all of you what they found in Florida - and provide facts as to how this corporation has avoided compliance with federal laws and continues to operate with no action(s) taken against them when they were caught in numerous violations as a result of my requested formal investigation.

Originally posted to Bob Sloan on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 03:46 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement and Florida Labor.


Should the PIE Program be abolished/repealed and jobs now performed by prisoners returned to the private sector markets?

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  •  Tip Jar (146+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Glen The Plumber, majcmb1, alizard, emal, antirove, walkshills, Spoc42, artebella, nosleep4u, cotterperson, GrumpyOldGeek, CJnyc, hopeful human, yet another liberal, DebtorsPrison, eeff, Bluerall, elwior, rhubarb, MattYellingAtTheMoon, alguien, zett, karmsy, opinionated, kevinpdx, plankbob, where4art, Danno11, lcrp, frisco, BarackStarObama, alyosha, rk2, on the cusp, Jean Sloan, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, rage, kdrivel, zukesgirl64, RhodaA, MrFrost, carpunder, G2geek, bnasley, mswsm, jmknapp, Jim R, litoralis, fiddlingnero, deha, ballerina X, sceptical observer, panicbean, NoisyGong, reflectionsv37, bwren, La Gitane, JekyllnHyde, Lefty Coaster, tonyahky, blueoasis, Fishgrease, bronte17, AgavePup, worldlotus, ladypockt, concernedamerican, tommymet, KateCrashes, peachcreek, Involuntary Exile, Matt Z, Esjaydee, NBBooks, shaggies2009, djrez, ctsteve, millwood, marina, rebel ga, Daily Activist, ozsea1, drawingporno, Jeff Y, PeteZerria, klingman, vahana, Abra Crabcakeya, Randtntx, xanthippe2, northsylvania, jnhobbs, DRo, cyeko, Nebraskablue, fallina7, Floande, MartyM, glendaw271, The Lone Apple, frisbee, cama2008, magnetics, LillithMc, Hector Solon, norwood, FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph, imokyrok, parse this, JonBarleycorn, cybrestrike, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, CroneWit, targetdemographic, Mayfly, banger, Tommymac, Limelite, flavor411, googie, lol chikinburd, bleedingheartliberal218, Cedwyn, kmbaya, liz dexic, Oldowan, HCKAD, kafkananda, SingerInTheChoir, mungley, metiche, bakeneko, TexasLefty, Ken in MN, Mighty Ike, timethief, zerelda, Horace Boothroyd III, Arishia, dle2GA, Quicksilver2723, yaque, MadMs, Neon Mama, rmx2630, Oh Mary Oh

    "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

    by Bob Sloan on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 03:46:28 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for all your great work (33+ / 0-)

      and continued perseverance to get the story out to everyone.

      I seem to remember a piece - perhaps a diary here - around 2005 or so that stated that many of the assorted manufactured goods for military for the Iraq conflict was supplied by prison labor out of the Southeast, particularly Florida.

      At the time it seemed just another insidious piece of the puzzle but it has taken a long time to find a serious place for it in the constellation of afflictions we face from these predators.

      The truth is we are tortured by the truth.

      by walkshills on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 05:17:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great diary (8+ / 0-)

       Informative and well researched.  Seems like a lot of the injustice done to man stems from the mighty dollar and the pursuit of cheap labor.

      Racism is man's gravest threat to man - the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason. ~Abraham Joshua Heschel

      by Ming117 on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 07:17:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks and you are so right about the dollar - (12+ / 0-)

        the oil and other resources combined.  I often wonder why it is so important for those with most of the wealth in this country to want to hold on to it?  I mean, they nor their families will ever be able to spend it all, yet they'll ignore the plight of others in their communities where they have the ability to ease that suffering.  Go figure!

        "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

        by Bob Sloan on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 07:35:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ignoring the suffering would be an (9+ / 0-)

          improvement; they seem to delight in it.

          "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou

          by ahumbleopinion on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 07:56:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  They don't do it for the money. (9+ / 0-)

          They do it for the power over people it gives them.  The money is just a marker to indicate whether the power is going up or down.

          Humans are a peculiar species in that they kill their own kind.  However, some have discovered that killing what you don't eat is both pointlessly terminal (no ongoing satisfaction) and liable to being avenged (personally hazardous).  The response as a result of these observations is human husbandry, formerly known as slavery or, after the adoption of the Constitution, deprivation of rights under law.  
          Deprivation of rights, which is what every criminal act basically is, is now no longer legal, except as a response to criminal acts, after they have been proved against a person through due process.  In other words, slavery is legal as a form of punishment.

          Deprivation of rights under law reverberates throughout American culture.  We not only have the recent example of a resurrection in DADT, but involuntary servitude by inoffensive people persists in the military draft (waiting to be activated at any time).  And then there's the fact that, under the law, children are the property of their parents until their emancipation at age 18.  Deprivation of rights under law is a hard thing to surrender.  That it flourishes in the prison industry is not a surprise.  Neither should it be a surprise that deprivation under cover of law (most commonly in the interest of national security) is also flourishing.  Respect for human rights has always come in as a poor second even to respect for property rights.  Had to, otherwise slavery (people being owned as property) could not have been justified.  For many people, the rule of law means making deprivation of rights (crime) legal.

          Personally, I am less concerned about the effect of incarceration and slave labor on the victims than I am about what it does to the perpetrators of this system.  While it may not harden these people to the plight of their own kind, keeping slaves is debilitating and morally corrupting to the people who do it.  By depriving some humans of their rights under law, they are degrading the law itself and, to put it simply, engaging in abuse and torture, behavior that places them squarely in the category of predators and parasites, only worse because they are doing it to their own kind.

          IMHO, we pay too much attention to life and death in this country and not enough attention to guaranteeing the necessities of living and preventing deprivation.  It's a bit difficult to argue that people convicted of crime should not be deprived when the vast majority of the population exists in a state of deprivation (deprived of food, water, shelter, health, peace of mind) under the rubric that there shall be "no free lunch."

          You could say that equality is the great deceiver.  For people into exercising power over other people, equality is the enemy, but only because it's a principle that prompts people to demand that their rights be respected.  However, what the proponents of power over people have discovered is that it is quite possible to deprive almost all people equally.  The real opponent of power over people is human rights and human rights have never been foremost in the American agenda.  Indeed, Americans have long been put off insisting on human rights being respected (not just not restricted as the Constitution demands) by the sop of property rights.  Getting to have exclusive use of things is supposed to distract us from the fact that our human rights are being disrespected and abused left and right.  That's why we are an "ownership society."  Remember that phrase?  It's what Dubya announced in 2001.

          It's not unusual that part of a phrase almost seems designed to distract or even negate the other part.  Indeed, just as in "equal rights" the equal tends to cancel the rights, in the phrase "national socialism" not only is the social nature of humans degraded, but the nation, an immaterial and impersonal figment of the imagination, is elevated to a position of supreme importance in whose interest the rights of natural persons are effectively wiped out.  We have all been equally subordinated (or enslaved) by the rule of law to an imaginary secular being.  It's happened before, during the last century in Germany.  When the rule of law is used to subjugate humans, it's a more implacable tyrant, if only because immortal, than any flesh and blood ruler whose head can be offed.

          "How do I dominate other humans without them knowing I'm doing it?  Let's pass a law."  

          The prison system is an obvious example of what's being surreptitiously on us all.

          "What you do to the least of these, you do to me."

          Men should not want to have earthly kingdoms.  Rotating the personnel and limiting their terms does not guarantee the effort to create kingdoms on earth won't be made.  It has always been Satan's aim and his minions are ever eager to comply.

          by hannah on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 03:01:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  No, the injustice done to man stems (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, yaque

        from the urge to have power over people, to exercise control.  It is this impulse which conflicts with the desire to be free.  Enshrining that power in the law is a grand illusion or, if you will, deception.

        by hannah on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 03:17:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Some who live among our society have the (6+ / 0-)

          notion that "being free" means they can do that which is personally appeasing and enriching to them.  If in accomplishing that other humans are oppressed or imprisoned - they adopt an attitude such as Boehners ("So be it!") response to the loss of more jobs.  As an ALEC Alumni, Boehner and his brethren truly act as if there is a class war today.  It really is an "Us versus THEM" atmosphere of war brought by the affluent against those of us they consider less equal, due to our lack of tremendous wealth, lack of influence and position within society.  Today the society we live within has totally different definitions of equality.  I say this because if you are wealthy those with similar wealth believe themselves your equal.  Those without such wealth are considered beneath them or a sub-class within society.  This sub-class composed of more than 95% of our society is looked down upon by the other 5% and considered to exist only to make their lives better through enrichment.

          This is part of the problem with their pursuit of acquisition of wealth, influence and power - not given to them by us, rather usurped and used against us by them.  This allows them to sleep nights after spending their days incarcerating more of us to make their bank accounts grow.  This exploitation of prisoners and prison labor performed for the upper echelon of Americans presents the wealthiest with a cash cow that continues to keep them at the top of the "food chain".

          Just as the corporate interests have used the Conservative principals as a means of furthering their own non-conservative agenda, Evangelical Christians have used conservatism to advance their agenda within society.  Conservative values, principals and goals have been used by both to oppress the rest of us that don't agree with their exploitation of the masses, or believe in "their" God.  This tug-o-war created within the Republican party of today between Evangelicals and Conservatives is driving our country down a treacherous road.  They wish to treat us as mere bystanders along the way - as if we're not really involved and thus the outcome matters less to us and is beneath their care or concern.

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 08:32:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I Rec'd And Tipped You Bob n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

      by rebel ga on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 11:57:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  ALEC Is A 501c (3) Charity So How Do They Get Away (9+ / 0-)

      With Political Activities!

      The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) membership association of state legislators and private sector policy advocates.


      The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations

      Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity.  Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.

      Interesting fact:
      501(c)(3) charities can keep up to 75 per cent of donations as
      operating expenses. So be careful whom you donate money to!

      Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

      by rebel ga on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 12:22:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Charities are corporations (artificial (6+ / 0-)

        man-made bodies).  As such, they are only taxed on their profits, regardless of their objectives.  If their objective is eleemosynary, then people who give (donors) these corporations money can avoid paying taxes on their income, if the charity has been properly certified.  Whatever the charities pay out in salaries is subject to being taxed as income by the recipients.  So, charities are simply tax avoidance schemes for rich people who don't like being dictated to.  Being taxed -- i.e. being obligated to contribute to the support of the state -- is an abomination to people who want to be in charge.  

        by hannah on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 03:30:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I Think CArol Shea's Great Too! n/t (0+ / 0-)

          Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

          by rebel ga on Mon Apr 04, 2011 at 09:56:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  When caught with dirty money --ASK (0+ / 0-)

          exactly which "charity" the guilty politician "donates" the ill gotten gains to?

          Especially when they know that the money was fraudulently stolen from say a Native American tribe, as in Abramoff et al,  why exactly would an HONEST candidate fail to simply "donate" the stolen money back to the known victim of the theft?

          Make them NAME the charity and then check if their "charity" is really just beginning at one of their other "homes."    

          Is their spouse or offspring or an in-law or other relative being employed by said "charity"?   Newspapers with staffs large enough to keep their eyes on this stuff --- are disappearing.   So we citizen journalists will have to web crawl ---- to name them and nail them.

          Eternal vigilance indeed.

          De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

          by Neon Mama on Mon Apr 04, 2011 at 02:21:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Your assessment of the 501(C)(3) tax codes (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, kafkananda, yaque, rebel ga, Neon Mama

        are accurate but they have found a way around that by declaring their organization is one of education and training - of lawmakers, but "training" none the less.  This use of semantics is important.  Take a moment and consider that just like ALEC claims they are "training" lawmakers in the way of politics - they use the same terminology to describe their exploitation of prisoners; "training" them to make their products and provide their services for the low wages they are willing to pay them.

        We hear daily, key phrases or words uttered by politicians to instill a belief of confidence within us for what they're doing.  The latest spoken many times over the past week or so is "unique capabilities" to describe why we went into Libya and had to lead the way in, due to our possession of such unique capabilities.  This use of terminology to give humans a "picture" to focus on, allows us to not focus on the actual acts that are being committed under the umbrella of such terminologies.

        With the expansion of criminal justice laws and prison populations, we were given the picture of public safety so we would be supportive of those efforts.  Who doesn't want to be safe?  So realizing this they beat us over the head with that kind of terminology for thirty years to increase prison populations, the need for privatization and corporate profits from doing so.  All along we carry this picture of the need to do this, due to our wish for "Public Safety".  If you If you voiced opposition to this, you were pointed out as Un-American and Un-Patriotic and probably a criminal yourself, all rolled into one.

        We have to get away from these pictures and reliance upon terminology they use to control us.  During the past twenty-plus years crime has dropped steadily in all categories - yet the pursuit of continued need for "public safety" has kept the cells full and allowed the imposition of more and more laws - that apply to us but not to those in the upper elite class.  Corporations violate the laws daily with impunity and no - or little - legal consequence.  This happens because they have the ear of lawmakers who work tirelessly to keep their supporters above the laws.

        "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

        by Bob Sloan on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 08:50:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Great Diary And I Love Your Sig Line Bob! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

      by rebel ga on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 12:39:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks rebel ga! I believe in that concept as (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, kafkananda

        well.  If someone breaks the law seriously enough to warrant imprisonment, it should be our civic duty to change their behavior, not put them in a pool of never ending imprisonment that is exploited for profit.

        "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

        by Bob Sloan on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 08:52:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Or that puts them into a cycle of resentment (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Neon Mama

          and hatred such that when they get out they are all the more likely to prey on the rest of us again.

          Awesome diary!

          I'm going to remember, with the fullest sense of irony, this most important question to ask of our representatives...

          Are you now, or were you in the past, a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council?

          No one is outside the circle of the heart

          by kafkananda on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 09:53:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The key and most critical political question (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Neon Mama, kafkananda

            of this new millennium.  Hopefully the demonstrating and protesting we have planned for ALEC's Spring Summit in Cincinnati on April 28th and 29th will be the beginning of their end as a detrimentally influential political presence in America.

            There is no real way to ascertain the number of laws they have written, proposed and gotten enacted in the past 30 years.  If any of them were as harsh and harmful to our society as the criminal justice laws and their recent SB 1070 fiasco, we can now know exactly who has been responsible for leading us down this terrible path.

            "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

            by Bob Sloan on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 07:38:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Hamlet: "Denmark's a prison." (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

      by magnetics on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 06:35:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  your diaries have made me wonder (26+ / 0-)

    if the US corporate world is now as dependent on slave labor as the Roman Empire was.

    Peak Oil is NOW! Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

    by alizard on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 04:21:02 PM PDT

  •  ALEC Succeeds Because Individuals Elected To (7+ / 0-)

    represent specific districts or states agree to adopt agenda items fomented in obscure out-of-state right-wing think screech tanks.  

    This allows the wingers to pretend their radical ideas have widespread support in our democracy.

    Can't we make it an impeachable offense if state representatives support legislation with no indigenous roots exceeding 10% in their state or district - unless extraordinary events intervene/require unforeseen action?

    I know this means constant polling on what registered voters care about most.  But what's the downside?  More polling jobs?  More legislative accountability?

    Why shouldn't the voters' concerns formally 'cage' their representatives' agendas?  They've proven we can't trust them to do the people's business and it'd make lobbyists' lives much harder.

    •  Legislation? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, GrumpyOldGeek, rebel ga

      I'm sure they'll be able to create enough "extraordinary events" in order to justify any law they want pushed through...

      FOSI: Full Of Shit Information - Both my sister and I are trivia freaks...

      by Spoc42 on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 05:14:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good suggestion and analysis. We have to find (9+ / 0-)

      a way to redirect the attention of the constituency upon all those belonging to ALEC or funding similar groups.  Too many key issues facing us today fall to the wayside as lawmakers pursue corporate interests instead of their community's.

      Today corporations elect our representatives through unlimited funding, advertising and ever easing election laws that make their efforts more acceptable.  All we have to do is ignore the constant rhetoric and smooth, slick campaign advertising...pick candidates for their lack of support from corporate sources and endorsements from those we know to be corrupted.  They may not be able to agree with or represent our beliefs on key issues when first elected, but the fact that they aren't beholding to corporate interests would give us an edge.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 06:40:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I Agree With This Bob, but think we should go one (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bob Sloan, elwior, yaque

        step further and pick candidates who do agree with or represent our beliefs on key issues.

        pick candidates for their lack of support from corporate sources and endorsements from those we know to be corrupted.  They may not be able to agree with or represent our beliefs on key issues when first elected, but the fact that they aren't beholding to corporate interests would give us an edge.

        Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

        by rebel ga on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 12:02:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  From within a society that has been so (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, kafkananda, rebel ga

          splintered over the past three decades finding a candidate with the ability to represent without corporate direction and support the key and important beliefs at the same time will be difficult.  I'm not saying it can't happen, but initially the goal would be to create disorganization between legislatures and corporations and sever the monetary ties between the two.  I think once this happens, lawmakers would quickly learn that is what society expects of them and allow them to return to proposing and supporting critical issues important to their constituents.

          I would hope you're right, though and that candidates with such abilities could be found and voted in to replace those that do the bidding of the corporate elite.  In the beginning, that may simply be a bridge too far...

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 08:58:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, people still vote. (5+ / 0-)

        That's why there's an effort to "thin" the electorate via coercion, depression, restriction, distraction and disgust.  The media assault is just the visible icing on the cake to create the illusion that the election is decisive.  What's decisive is the initial selection of candidates and the elimination of a hostile electorate.  The people are the enemy.

        by hannah on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 03:48:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Most people offering themselves for (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Sloan, elwior, Neon Mama

      public office have no idea what they are letting themselves in for.  So, especially on the state level, when packets of information arrive to "assist" them in carrying out their duties, they dutifully pay attention and do their best to take the advice of experts.  I'd not heard of ALEC before.  But the efforts of the Heartland Institute are similar.  Heartland sends out welcoming packets of information to every state legislator at the beginning of each session.  They're like the "welcome wagon."

      Perhaps the best kept secret in the U.S. of A is that enterprise has always depended on public subsidies and support to survive and sometimes prosper.  Where did the resources that are doled out to the people come from?  The crowned heads of Europe took them by force and "granted" them to explorers and settlers.

      When the myth of free enterprise?  Guilt.  Denial of dependence amplified.

      by hannah on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 03:45:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary. Again. (20+ / 0-)

    These fuckers are intent on re-creating the slave state. It'll be painted over with euphemisms and slogans, but slavery is what it'll be.

    "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

    by nosleep4u on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 05:13:05 PM PDT

  •  Nice diary, though why call them "Conservative"? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, rebel ga

    They are hardcore libertarians - conservatives have traditionally cared about community values and community support (to an extent).

    These greed-heads only care about how much money and power they can obtain, regardless of consequences to others.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 06:05:24 PM PDT

    •  Good diary and we need to know more about (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, rebel ga, kafkananda

      this stuff.

      I think we should just call them Cons, as in Con Artists.  Even libertarians really just want to be left alone and usually mean no harm.

    •  I call them conservative because they are using (10+ / 0-)

      ALEC's professed Conservative stance and agenda to further these exploitations.  I said the other day that corporations have used the Conservative faction of the Republican party as a means of acquiring wealth, power and influence, without really being conservative in their beliefs.  They are being used as a corporate tool to keep taxes down for the wealthiest in our society, regulations to a minimum and profits flowing the most generously.

      Being able to do all of that while not being conservative yourself, is quite an accomplishment.  There are fewer Dem's involved in this crap and we can only presume thats because for the most part Dem's refuse to cash in on something that works to diminish wages, jobs or exploitation of the weakest among us - prisoners.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 06:49:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have felt lately that the more we brand these (6+ / 0-)

        people - who essentially lead Republican legislative and policy choices - as anything but "conservatives", the easier it will be to raise more critical thinking in the actual conservatives who continue to cling onto that party out of tradition, rather than actual, ideological alignment.  Help them self-question why they are supporting a corporate agenda which actually undermines notions of more fair, conservative governing and culture.

        "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

        by wader on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 08:50:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Conservatives care about conserving (3+ / 0-)

      the power of an elite population, the ruling class.  Their power is challenged by universal suffrage, open government, social organizations (unions, etc.) and the obligation to pay people for their labor (intellectual or physical).

      Obligation is a big bugaboo.  That citizenship is a bundle of obligations (to vote, to serve on juries, to hold office, to propose laws, to provide material support, to enforce the law) does not sit well with them.  The concept of public servant does not sit well with people who were born to rule and have decided that the "rule of law" provides the perfect shield because it leaves no finger prints and it's immortal.

      by hannah on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 03:55:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  When I was a "conservative" - and, of my (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bob Sloan

        right-leaning friends - there was a strong sense of accepting tradition and preserving community, with a general balance of consideration for others so long as the conservative community wasn't being pushed where it felt too uncomfortable.

        The sense of elitism and such didn't start to become firmament country-wide until Reagan made it formal, I feel - before then, it was just pockets of self-acceptance of what they accepted was "right . . . some of which was exclusionary and highly prejudicial, but not near as extreme as the dog-eat-dog world we're seeing today from Republicans.

        "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

        by wader on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 10:22:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree that most of this began with the election (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          of Reagan as President.  There were indicators that some wanted to push this kind of agenda, but they were unable to make any real headway until he was elected.

          It really is sad the way one of our political parties in the U.S. has been taken over by factions more than once now.  In each usurpation they have shoved the party further to the right and introduced more radical ideals.  All political parties in the world shift, change and reform themselves over time.  The Republican party in this country is an example of how such changes can actually change the face of a nation to such an extent it is hardly recognizable as a democracy of late.  I hope when history is written of this era we're living through, anger and frustration are put aside so that a truthful and revealing description of how it happened can be factually that it doesn't ever happen again.

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 07:56:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  A libertarian (5+ / 0-)

      would not support government intervention. From the diary, the goals of ALEC and these private prisons are dependent on government support and intervention. Did you see the leasing costs, for f*ck's sake? Make no mistake, they want a very strong government acting on their behalf. No libertarians here.

      Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth. - Lucy Parsons

      by cruz on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 05:18:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sadly this appears to be an accurate description (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        of our country, society and political situation today.

        "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

        by Bob Sloan on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 09:02:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Disagree (0+ / 0-)

        Libertarians such as these want hands off their means of obtaining independence, with a corruption of our otherwise democratic republic as a necessary alignment towards that goal.

        The government is already in place - they are using practical and effective devices to kill its general purpose, focusing the outputs on their incredibly selfish goals and unequal "freedoms".

        It's not how they get there so much as what they want.

        "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

        by wader on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 10:19:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  republicans want YOU to be counted (6+ / 0-)

    as 3/5ths of a person.

    if that.

  •  Corrections union (8+ / 0-)

    I talked with a couple of prison guards protesting at the Ohio Statehouse last month, a man and a woman. They had several tales of how guards get jumped and seriously hurt and some close calls they themselves had.

    At one point the guy, I'd say about age 50, says to me, "I don't suppose you've ever heard of pick-a-post, have you." I did not. He explained, if I followed it correctly, that it was a union perk where based on seniority when a position comes up the employee with the most seniority had first crack at taking it. I.e., it was the type of thing that "free market" ideologues hate about unions, where in their utopia every job is filled based on 'merit' alone.

    He was really upset that after working in the prison system for 20 years or whatever it was, and having earned this perk, it was going to be taken away by Kasich with a swipe of a pen. I have to agree that it isn't right.

    I didn't get his picture but on the left is the female prison guard with a friend:

    I can't recall the details, but she was going to be hit hard by the bill too.

    •  Thanks for the info and taking part in the (6+ / 0-)

      protests.  Correctional staffers are hit really hard in Ohio and many other states by the efforts of eliminating collective bargaining and other such initiatives.

      Many or them lost their great paying jobs at some point, and to keep a roof over their heads they took the least thankful jobs in prisons - everywhere.  They were sold the same lies many investors were sold - that the prison industry was a stable and ever growing industry with little chance that incarceration would go out of"style".  Now they are facing losing the jobs they took when their other ones were lost.  I can well understand and sympathize with their feelings, but we must realize that if rehabilitation were the goal, the prison populations would have been decreasing on a level with the crime rates that have been in decline since 1990.  Like other "Commodities", prison employment has been kept artificially lucrative by those incarcerating for profits.  They can no longer do that after the rest of us realize that incarceration is breaking state budgets like brittle and fragile glass.

      A side effect of all this is that the Conservatives now say they were wrong with all their lock-em-up and throw away the key legislation and are pushing for criminal justice reforms.  They started it and now want to take credit for "solving" the problems they created - and cost us so dearly by that creation.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 07:45:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The reality is that the rate of (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bob Sloan, elwior, kafkananda, Neon Mama

        violent crime, based on reports (not actually proven), has been decreasing for decades.  So, one would think there'd be a decrease in the prison population.  That there hasn't been has taken a lot of effort to put in place longer sentences, more categories of "serious" crime, including some that has no victims) in order to sustain the population.

        Again, this is facilitated by focusing on results, rather than causes.  Being concerned about the people being locked away makes it possible to overlook the people who are locking them away.

        While I am somewhat dubious about electing judges, that's partly because the elections, usually, gain almost no real attention and consideration.  Prosser in Wisconsin is an anomaly.  The judiciary should be attended to.  Because, what happens to any institution that's ignored, is that it becomes self-referential.  That is, the people in it are only interested in what their associates expect of them.  So, accused perpetrators are processed as if they were chickens on an assembly line or cows in a milking parlor.  The operators of the system become desensitized and the victims become dehumanized.  Human husbandry is not good for the husbands or the "wives."

        by hannah on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 04:08:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The reports by the PEW Center, National (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, kafkananda, hannah, Arishia, Neon Mama

          Institute of Justice, the F.B.I. and the Bureau of Justice Statistics have all informed that an actual reduction in all classes of crime in the U.S. have been decreasing since 1990 while the prison population grew by more than 250% over the same period.

          There are also statistics provided by the same agencies and independent sources that illegal alien arrests and apprehensions have been declining since 2004 - yet those facts were not taken into consideration when ALEC went after SB 1070 legislation to increase the number of immigrant detainees.  There was less of a problem than they presented but they did it successfully, again using disinformation and terminology to garner support for this agenda.  The end result - as we are all aware - was an expected increase in arrests and detentions that would benefit two corporations, Corrections Corp of America and Geo Group that just happen to be members of ALEC and holding a vast number of state and federal contracts to house such detainees.  This law was pushed and enacted to benefit two companies by those who anticipated political contributions for their assisting CCA and Geo in securing the law and more detentions.

          Again AZ. is a display of their agenda, the false information provided to the public to allow support for that agenda and increased private profits at the expense of the taxpayers who are footing the bill for these detentions.  It is inconceivable that lawmakers were unaware of the actual facts provided by Homeland Security, the INS and ICE when they decided to implement SB 1070, but they went ahead with it.  Partly this was due to the slump in state prison housing due to a decline in incarceration since 2005.  This hurt Geo and CCA's bottom line and a way had to be found to boost income - enter immigration reforms led by the "Council" CCA and Geo belong to - sitting beside the likes of the American Bail Coalition and Koch Industries.

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 09:16:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Great Picture jmknapp! Great Sign! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, Neon Mama

      Walk Like An Egyptian!
      You Are All So Smart!
      Kossacks And Protesters All Over The World Rule!

      Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

      by rebel ga on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 12:31:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  After a very quick look at Utah's (7+ / 0-)

    Prison labor operations, Utah Correctional Industries, they seem to be run in house. Our Legislature is almost entirely a subsidiary of ALEC though, and this year they are studying moving the whole state prison to a brand new location, so I'm keeping an eye out for signs of privatization, and who benefits. I've really found your series interesting and informative, thanks

  •  Thanks Bob as always... (5+ / 0-)

    Another tidbit: During the Butler/VCU Men's NCAA game today, there was a documentary broadcast on an adjacent channel about the Len Bias Story. It is a very sad tale. Bias was a magnificent athlete at Maryland and then signed with the Boston Celtics. He died of an apparent cocaine overdose after partying to celebrate the signing. Most attest that his drug use was out of character.

    The documentary highlights the lack of knowledge about cocaine at the time but also that the Len Bias story might have been a tipping point that lead to our current "war on drugs". The war that lead to the legal differentiation of powder vs rock cocaine and the incarceration of a whole lot of folks for more time than anyone deserves. (IMHO)

    In 1988, the U.S. Congress passed a stricter Anti-Drug Act that is known as "The Len Bias Law." It was backed by both parties and reinforced the previous drug law with stiffer penalties and expanded the DARE program.
  •  The Government Is In On It Too (5+ / 0-)

    The government contracts directly with a lot of prison laborers too.

    •  More accurate than you know. The PIECP (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neon Mama

      program and laws are overseen by the Department of Justice through the BJA.  The DOJ also has authority over and control of all 102 federal prison industries in the U.S.

      With 43 state prison industries participating (and 4 more about to be approved to participate) the DOJ will have authority and control over approximately 90% of all prison industry operations in the U.S.  If laws are broken with regard to prison or prison industry operations, it is the DOJ that bears responsibility for investigation and prosecution.  It has never worked to have the agency with oversight to prosecute itself for a lack of such oversight.

      In 1995 the DOJ outsourced oversight and the policy advising of this program to the National Correctional Industries Association (NCIA).  The NCIA is to prison industry what ALEC is to state legislation: the NCIA is a front for the vendors, suppliers and prison industry operators in the U.S.  Their membership is made up from each participating prison industry, each corporation using inmate labor and the companies that provide them raw materials and support.  UNICOR and the American Correctional Association sit upon theNCIA board alongside CEO's, Directors and others employed in prison industries operating in PIECP.  Together the DOJ and the NCIA control all aspects of prison industry operations in the U.S. and allow the exploitation of prisoners as a workforce by approving violations of the PIECP mandatory requirements.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 09:39:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Very Good (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rebel ga, Hector Solon, elwior

    Thanks for this

    •  No Tweeting here... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, Bob Sloan, Neon Mama

      ... from Bob. Been on topic, staying on topic, pushing the issues. And now ALEC is getting national attention again like it did in 2002-2003. Bob's work was a great resource in this most recent ALEC and privatization dust up.

      Hope it sticks this time. It's a big fight.

      Note back on topic:
      Prison industry has been a political issue here in Michigan, especially in terms of office furniture, which is the second largest industry in the State.

      Also corrections/prison privatization and overcrowding were issues started under Gov Milliken, continued in late Blanchard?, BIG TIME in Engler years.  It's back, no doubt, not necessarily publicly... yet.  And it will be hitting us soon.

      Same players again? Don't know, not a SME (subject matter expert), get the feeling that privatization was more local years ago, now it's national and that means the fight is everywhere, not just state-by-state.

      ALEC is just ONE of the vehicles these BIG businesses use push their wares.

      Thanks for giving us at least one, well-studied issue to use as reference as we look (again) into exposing other industries and targeted public assets. Under the new EFM Law in Michigan, it's everything not nailed down.

      •  Thanks for the kind words and further info (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hector Solon, Neon Mama

        about specific state operations in Michigan.  As I said in a response to an above comment, ALEC is to legislation as the NCIA is to prison industry and prisoner exploitation.  I have found that 3M considers NCIA an "affiliated body" of the American Correctional Association and The Workman Fund.  As I've written previously, 3M uses inmate labor to manufacture many of their products.  They advertise to correctional industries and prison customers upon both the NCIA and ACA sites (buyer's guide links) and the ACA appears to have some connectivity to ALEC.

        So it is all intertwined and connected in one way or the other.  As long as they are allowed to divert jobs to prisoners they will continue to push for reductions in wages within the private sector and elimination of Unions - as a voice of those opposing their agenda.  I have pursued and taken on the NCIA and prison industries as I've considered this the most involved and insidious of the culprits.  Of late the involvement of ALEC has shown that I should have started on them sooner, considering their efforts the most important due to their ability to put the laws in place that allow prisoner exploitation and jobs lost to civilians.

        "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

        by Bob Sloan on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 09:47:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Slave labor and starvation wages have always (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrsgoo, LillithMc, elwior, Bob Sloan, Neon Mama

    been used to build empires and their grand symbolic structures- the Parthenon , the Colosseum , City Of London, National Mall in  DC. Blood , broken bodies , misery are the foundation of huge fortunes and "wonderful" urban tourist attractions.We must all be Spartacus , Toussaint , John Brown , Patrick Henry , Suan B. Anthony , Thoreau , Ghandi , King , or Mandela if any of us would be free.

    There's always an extra chair and an extra coffee mug here.

    by Abra Crabcakeya on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 01:47:48 AM PDT

  •  Powermad & Ravenous (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    People like the Koch Brothers and the current GOP are like evil versions of Oliver Twist, standing there belly's full but still screaming for more. I've never felt sorry for Mr. Bumble before.

    This head movie makes my eyes rain.

    by The Lone Apple on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 05:16:14 AM PDT

  •  There's a report on al-Jazeera (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    about the Guggenheim Museum being build in Abudahbi with imported labor

    At first I thought it was prison labor since all the workers are dressed in jump suits and housed in prison-like buildings.

    The ALEC you see on the building at the 1.6 minute mark is surely not related to the US outfit by the same name!

    by hannah on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 06:45:21 AM PDT

    •  Nope...that ALEC is a construction outfit by the (0+ / 0-)

      name: Al Jaber L.E.G.T. Engineering & Contracting (ALEC) L.L.C.  Lol never hurts to investigate...but ALEC in the U.S. and much of Europe means the "Council" here.  They're getting so much publicity that others with the same acronym may change their company name just to avoid the bad publicity attached to "ALEC".

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Tue Apr 05, 2011 at 08:14:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How stupid would you have to be (3+ / 0-)
    .. is led to believe that this kind of exploitation is for the benefit of the inmates being worked buy into this sales pitch?

    Keeping their corrupt mechanizations away from the public eye and under the radar politically, would be a better strategy.

    I applaud your passionate response to this corruption of the fabric of society, Mr. Sloan. Hopefully the more sunlight shed on this - the more it will wither.

    An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics - Plutarch

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 07:57:47 AM PDT

  •  Captive Workforce = Rethug Heaven (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, kafkananda, Neon Mama

    Inmate wages and no benefits, NO labor unions or collective bargaining, NO whistleblowers, NO government interference, NO workplace safety or environmental protection laws with which to comply, etc.

    It's a rethug's wet dream!

    •  It is, isn't it? In my book I detail how this was (0+ / 0-)

      all worked out and which lawmaker was the most responsible for aiding and furthering this mess.  No names here - but a hint...he was a Florida Representative with an "R" after his name...left the U.S. Congress, became the Attorney General of Florida and ran for Governor of Florida in 2010...Guess who?!

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Tue Apr 05, 2011 at 08:07:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The pieces fall together (0+ / 0-)

    All the events of increased incarceration, private prisons, Arizona, fall together and this is the big ugly picture.  I am disgusted but knowledge is power.  Thanks for your efforts.
    PS I just read that my insurer State Farm is a member of ALEC.  I am pondering what to do.

    •  :( yes State Farm has long supported ALEC and in (0+ / 0-)

      fact I believe they have sat upon at least one of ALEC's Task Forces as a member.  I haven't researched State Farm in a number of years, so don't know for a fact that they still belong as a "member", but research says they are still funding their efforts.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 07:59:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Couple of decades ago I met "PRIDE" (0+ / 0-)

    as a failed "probation" vendor.  I was skip tracing a guy to collect payment or repo his car.  Florida law says you can't leave the county car was purchased in without notifying lender.  (It sucks, I know.)  He was long gone, but public records said he had a court date soon. I showed up and he didn't.  

    I didn't want dealer to have to pay impound fees for car when I expected this guy would be quickly arrested.
    Since he was violated anyway for failure to appear,
     I contacted probation "supervisor."   Turned out that they only knew that he SAID he was somewhere in south Florida when he PHONED IN on dates he was supposed to be presenting himself to office in Pasco County.

    They hadn't bothered to do anything about it because he sent their monthly fees in religiously.  Feel safer  folks?

     (I tried to get locals interested in having real professionals really checking where the crooks are.  Crickets.  )

    I started using words like non-feasance with the jerk who was failing to do his job  and got the last address where he'd bought the money order to mail in.    Funny how folks who are an accomplice to hiding the location of technically stolen property --   when shown the text of the law they are breaking -- decide to stop aiding and abeting.  

    I swear he must have been paid like piecework == per client.  Or PRIDE didn't have the contract yet for that part of the state?    If PUBLIC SAFETY were the goal, his "supervision"    should have been transferred to where
    probationer  actually resided.  

    This privatized "officer of the court"  didn't even know, before I taught him, how to track this guy down.  He had the legal option to trap and trace the phone calls, or give info to cops where money order were bought.  And the description of the missing vehicle.  So, how was he "qualified" for the job?     Real probation officers have a hard job and mostly do it professionally.  Some of our lives depend on it.  

    Luckily I wrestled the gun out of the hands of a different
    six time felon out on probation for all of 10 days,  a decade later, who tried to rob me.   Good thing I worked hard enough in my life to still have stronger arms at age 59 than he did at age 21.

     But that's an off topic diary about starving the justice system so that gangs play "let's make a deal" so they don't do their time.   The wrong people are in jail, a lot.

    Point is, privatized is NOT better.  And not cheaper.

    De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

    by Neon Mama on Mon Apr 04, 2011 at 05:24:10 PM PDT

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