Jails / Prisons : The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?

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The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?

By Vicky Pelaez
Global Research, March 31, 2014


Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.

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dunwiddat

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The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?

By Vicky Pelaez
Global Research, March 31, 2014


Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.

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Destee

This is mind boggling and shameful.

We must remember also what happened during the Atlantic Slave Trade and Apartheid in Southern Africa. People benefit economicaly from this inhumane nefarious behaviour. The same is true for the gun trade and military hardware. Those who have investments in the ammunitions industry...will find a way to keep the fires of war in Africa going. Big business benefits from this whilst the marginalised are being treated as less than human.
 

Queenie

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Prison is another form of big business that exploits those who fall prey to the system--mostly Black and brown boys and men. I'm sure many of you have seen this before but I believe it bears repeating. Here's 2013 statistics that describe the rate of incarceration from school to prison pipeline and I'm sure these statistics reflect pretty much the same pattern in 2016:



Profit from cheap labor; a slave system; a demonstration of how racism is rooted in capitalism--As American as apple pie.

And, it's about to get worse, if you can believe that's possible given that America has the highest prison population in the world. Here's how.

PRIVATE PRISONS ARE BACK...

Outlawed at the beginning of the 20th Century, private corporations are once again owning and operating prisons for profit. A controversial issue which dates back to the days that followed the Emancipation Proclamation, CORRECTIONS examines its re-appearance today amidst globalization and the most awesome growth of prisons in all of modern history, painting a complex portrait of what many are calling the "prison industrial complex."


THE PRIVATE PRISON
In the mid-1980's, fifteen years of massive and unprecedented growth within the US prison system hit a snag -- it ran out of money.

When the state wants to build a new prison, it traditionally asks the voters to approve the cost through a bond issue. But this time, voters throughout the country began to say no.

So many turned to private investment, to venture capital, both to fund new prison projects and to run the prisons themselves for costs around $30 to $60 per bed, per day. This began what we know today as the for-profit, PRIVATE PRISON INDUSTRY.


"At the same time, prison privatization has met severe criticism. From human rights activists to criminologists, economists, religious and community leaders and even correctional officers' unions, privatization has been accused of corruption, corrosive incentives, and a resemblance to a historically racist practice of the old confederate U.S. South: CONVICT LEASING."



"And finally, if we remember that the people who privatize are generally wealthy, this reminds us of an old story where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer -- where the hard earned tax money from each of us is funneled into the hands of the wealthy few for their own personal gain. While we each like to think we don't live in a society like that, today this is justified to us through the myth that "free markets" are the same thing as democracy; that if everything is privatized and ruled by the law of the dollar then democracy will be ensured.

Add this to the fact that prisons do not make us safer and are by far the most expensive way of dealing with what we call "crime," we suffer other costs as well. Social costs of broken families and communities -- of both victims and perpetrators; hidden financial costs like paying for the foster care of prisoners' children; what we will only pay again when a prisoner re-emerges more desperate, addicted, uneducated and disenfranchised than they went in; the vengeance our society seeks through prisons and punishment will cost us twice the price of ensuring true equality, opportunity and social health at the roots of our society.

The PRIVATIZATION OF PRISONS is but one case in which a few people exploit our society's larger problems for their own gain, at a cost we all bare and get little in return."

Be afraid...be very afraid!
 
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