The US system of for profit prisons is one of the most blatant examples of how little poor people matter in our economic system. It is deplorable and should become a central ethical debate in our society.
The very existence of an organization like Corrections Corp of America belies the Orwellian hopelessness breeding in the heart of America. The only thing left to do when you’ve become hopeless is get angry.....
The US has more prisoners than Russia or China - strange, with China being a police state and having 3 times the population of the US. Is this a morphed version of peonage?
Your link is much more worthwhile than mine which the writer is kind of over the top. But I'm glad this subject is getting some press.
Never thought much about this. Now reading up - it's a heinous industry. Thanks for posting this topic.
For profit prison corporations give millions of dollars to politicians to put more prisoners behind bars, for longer sentences.
Glen Ford says
If private companies can gain both ownership and management of enough prisons, they can set the prices without open-bid competition for prison services, creating a guaranteed cost-plus monopoly like that which exists between the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex.
The Corrections Corporation of America’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission read very much like the documents of a slave-trader. Investors are warned that profits would go down if the demand for prisoners declines. That is, if the world’s largest police state shrinks, so does the corporate bottom line. Dangers to profitability include “relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws."
This whole trend sounds like looming dystopia to me, a worst case scenario where the 1% depend upon excessive penalties and high conviction rates no matter what it takes, to guarantee their bottom line.
Yes, get angry, and active. Profit prisons are an outrageous idea. Making money on prisons leaves no motive to right wrongs committed by the judicial systems. In this country, we do not have a high rehabilitation motive and it would be worse if prisons were for profit. Will oversight of profit prisons adequately protect inmates from each other, or inmates from guards?
Prison Inc. has parallels with peonage - described in heartbreaking and infuriating detail in "Slavery by another name". The difference seems to be mainly in that the modern Prison Inc. system is slightly less blatant. Call it Peonage 2.0
Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility in Mississippi has shown how kids end up horribly treated in a for profit system.
Investigations showed that guards frequently instigated or incited youth-on-youth violence. Often, they were the perpetrators.
The Walnut Grove story is a cautionary tale that raises alarming questions about the treatment of youthful, mostly nonviolent offenders in Mississippi and elsewhere. And it calls into question the wisdom of turning over the care of these youths, some as young as 13, to private companies that exist solely to turn a profit – companies that have no incentive to rehabilitate youths, that thrive on recidivism,...
The Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility near Jackson, Miss., was known for a culture of violence and corruption.
Violence by youths and guards wasn’t the only problem. Neither were the gang affiliations of some guards. Or the grossly inadequate medical and mental health care. Or the proliferation of drugs and other contraband. Or the lack of educational and rehabilitative programs. Or the wild overuse of pepper spray on passive youths.
Indeed, the DOJ found that sexual abuse – including brutal youth-on-youth rapes and “brazen” sexual misconduct by prison staffers who coerced youths – was “among the worst that we have seen in any facility anywhere in the nation.”
What’s more, both the prison staff and the Mississippi Department of Corrections, which pays GEO $14 million each year to run the prison, showed “deliberate indifference” to these problems.
In its report “Too Good to be True: Private Prisons in America,” The Sentencing Project questions the private prison industry’s claim that it can safely and humanely operate prisons for less money than the government. Prisons run by the government are not exactly extravagant, so where do the savings – and profits – come from?
“[P]rivate prisons must make cuts in important high-cost areas such as staffing, training and programming to create savings,” the report says.
Nothing, perhaps, illustrates the inhumane, callous and unconstitutional treatment of the youths at Walnut Grove more than the provision – or lack thereof – of mental health and medical care. ... the facility appeared to lack even the most basic equipment ...Exam rooms did not even contain examination tables or chairs.
The described conditions, including medical examination rooms that didn't even have tables and chairs, reminded me of the show prison maintained for international inspectors of concentration camps run by by the Third Reich.