Incarcerating young people is proving to be hugely profitable for some. Business expansions are planned, architectural blueprints for mansions are prepared, astronomical profits are projected and sold to prospective investors, all on the expectations that somebody's son or daughter will be going to prison.
At the heart of this trading in broken dreams and human misery is the unlikely named, Youth Services International. Sick irony, right? This company runs juvenile detention centers in some 16 states including Florida.
For more than a decade, James F. Slattery, focussed largely on incarcerating adults and undocumented immigrants through his for-profit prison business. In 2005, he sold off the adult division and shifted entirely into the juvenile market.http://projects.huffingtonpost.com/...
Gee, I wonder why he made the switch? It couldn't have anything to do with the fact that there are some 70,000 children who have been committed to some form of institutionalization, sometimes by overzealous corrupt judges, could it? Of that number, 40% are being in held in private prisons.
The HuffPo (to their credit) recently did an investigative piece on this company and what they found was neglect, abuse, allegations of sexual assaults and bribing of public officials.
The private prison industry has long fueled its growth on the proposition that it is a boon to taxpayers, delivering better outcomes at lower costs than state facilities. But significant evidence undermines that argument: the tendency of young people to return to crime once they get out, for example, and long-term contracts that can leave states obligated to fill prison beds. The harsh conditions confronting youth inside YSI’s facilities, moreover, show the serious problems that can arise when government hands over social services to private contractors and essentially walks away.
Florida’s permissive oversight has allowed Youth Services International to essentially game the system since entering the state more than a decade ago. Despite contractual requirements that the company report serious incidents at its facilities, YSI routinely fails to document problems, sanitizes those reports it does submit and pressures inmates to withhold evidence of mistreatment, according to interviews with 14 former YSI employees.Documents supporting HuffPo's exposé can be found here.
What is the School-to-Prison Pipeline?
• The school-to-prison pipeline is the system of harsh discipline policies, as well as the increased presence of police in schools,
that push young people out of the classroom and into the criminal justice system. These practices include out-of-school
suspensions, expulsions and school-based arrests, even for minor infractions like being late or violating a dress code.
• These failing zero-tolerance policies lead to high dropout rates, lower academic achievement, and too many kids pushed onto
a pathway to prison. The effects of school arrests can be severe and long-lasting, following young people when applying for
college or a job.
• There is no evidence that extreme school discipline makes schools safer or improves student behavior. On the contrary,
research suggests that the overuse of suspensions and expulsions actually increases the likelihood of later criminal
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