Finance industry profiteers exploit prisoners' families


If you can’t do the time, don’t belong to a socio-economic or racial profile that receives disproportionately severe sentences for nonviolent offenses.


Exploiting groups that are OK to hate and exploit is a foolproof way that senators can show they are mean to people that the system has obtained a conviction against. It is also a foolproof way to ensure the majority will support your profiteering even when acting in an otherwise illegal and monopolistic manner. This population is no longer much more than a result of being a usual suspect, with insane overcharging plea bargain coercion making the majority of fair trials and exercising constitutional rights a very dangerous gamble. The underfunded public defender is just an extension of the prosecution when they will not go to trial but only assist in making a deal.
So this ‘service’ exploits the hated ‘taker’ class who do not have the sophistication and education to navigate the legal system alone and are most prone to be abused.

Their motto should be “we kick you when you are down!”


In the New Jersey system, there is a tax (or fine, I am not sure of the offical structure) each time you add money to an offender’s account.

This is on top of the tax on goods purchased (at house prices, of course).

I find that particularly egregious. If your prison gets so cold as to cause frostbite in your population, there should be no question but that the prisoners should be provided clothing necessary to prevent injury.


In the US prison is unofficially-officially for revenge not for correction or even isolation of convicts from society at large, this explains the prison rape and gang statistics and casual manner in which they are used in US comedy culture.


I’m shocked!
…that Shapiro hasn’t figured out a way to also tap into the Armed Forces market…


Well, under the law (US Code title 18 part II chapter 227 subchapter D §§ 3553 & 3582) isolation of convicts from specific parts of society, generally their criminal associates and victims, can be a valid goal of incarceration. You’re quite right about correction and rehabilitation, though - those are not permitted to be addressed. The stated purposes of sentencing are “to reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the law, to provide just punishment, to afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct, to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant, and to provide the defendant with needed educational or vocational training, medical care, or other correctional treatment in the most effective manner”. That last one doesn’t get much use, since “imprisonment is not an appropriate means of promoting correction and rehabilitation” under the law, and of course we’ve known for centuries that harsh sentencing as a means of deterrence just flat out does not work. So, yeah, it’s mostly revenge, with a soupçon of pompous authoritarian posturing.

If you find this sort of thing interesting you might want to know about too.

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As I understand it, you’re meant to be sent to prison as a punishment, not to be punished.

Seems that in the US, you’re sent to prison so that someone can profit by it.


Wow, the American prison system really has not bottom. No matter how bad it seems there is something worse around the corner.


seems to me that profiteering off prison is one of those tropes of Prison movies–Shawshank Redemption comes to mind, though I haven’t seen it years.

what’s Ayn Rands take on Prison? Some well placed entrepueneur is bound to think:Schools have been used to forcibly disseminate Randian propaganda, why can’t orisons be a more efficient way of doing the same.

I think the last thing a Randian would want is for prisoners to become aware of a philosophy of personal empowerment (which is how Randians view Randian philsoophy, in addition to viewing it as the word of god).

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I’m okay with a little profiteering on non-necessities. If you want to send your loved one money for luxury items, well, it sucks that they’re in prison. I can see making sure that everything is within prison guidelines and is secure and such and that money and items coming from outside aren’t adding hassle to the prison staff. I can see that being much easier to deal with by making everyone go through one approved company.

But the prison should be providing for all of the basic needs for the health, safety, and hygiene of the prisoners. Things like basic winter clothing to prevent frostbite should be provided to every inmate. It shouldn’t require spending from the families to provide that. Money from the families should only for things that are above and beyond the minimum needed to keep their loved ones safe and healthy. It should cost you to pay for them to have fancy winter clothes, but a basic set of long johns should just be issued every fall. It should cost you to pay to for them to have fancy toothpaste, but a standard cheap generic brand should be issued regularly. It should cost you to pay for them to buy a candy bar, but the prison should be providing three nutritional meals per day. The things you buy should be the things you want, the things to make the stay nicer. The things you need to be free from illness and pain should come standard.


[quote=“jerwin, post:11, topic:42065, full:true”]
seems to me that profiteering off prison is one of those tropes of Prison movies–Shawshank Redemption comes to mind, though I haven’t seen it years.[/quote]

As Warden Norton (who is the one who attempts to profit off the prison system) says of the state senate, “They have only three ways to spend the taxpayers’ money for prisons: more walls, more bars, more guards.”

That’s probably the most accurate summation in the movie. Much less realistic is (spoiler alert!) Norton’s near conviction for profiting from the prison system. In the movie he’s a villain. In reality people like him are still villains, but are rewarded for their business acumen.

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The American justice system is a crime against humanity. This post highlights just one small element of this abhorrent and inhumane system.


If that’s the way they are going, though, I also think that company shouldn’t be able to mark things up ridiculously. If we are going to sell monopolies to private enterprises, we have to regulate those monopolies. We don’t allow monopolies that businesses build themselves, there is no reason why we should allow them when we have basically legislated the conditions of them on behalf of the business.

(Though in agreement with you about the rest, and the fact that they are not providing necessities for the purpose of making more money is way more serious)


Are you okay with a little bit of torture, for a good cause?

And yes, I did read your whole post.

You give a litany of examples that follow the pattern “It should cost you to pay for them to have [some luxury], but basic [necessity] should be issued.”

It’s dead wrong that any of the money a prisoner receives has to be spent on necessities, and that problem needs to be addressed immediately. But the notion that it’s okay to take a cut off the top from any monies sent in, purely because the recipient is a prisoner, is just saying it’s okay to abuse “bad” people, because, well… they’re bad.

Dobby has the right of it here.


I wouldn’t put high prices for luxuries anywhere near the realm of “torture” or “abuse”. It’s totally not fun, but prison’s not a resort. It’s prison. It should definitely not be inhumane. Especially with no more fair and error-proof than our legal and judicial system is, we don’t want people sick or hurting or neglected while they’re in there. But there’s nothing wrong with not making it easy and a bargain to live more nicely.

If I were running a prison where folks didn’t want us dealing with a single company to streamline things, I would say “Ok. No problem. No more outside stuff or outside funds. Your folks get prison issue necessities and what they can buy from the commissary with their own itty bitty wages.”.

i forgive you because you obviously know very little about what really happens in our prison systems around the country. in texas 14 prisoners have died because of heat exhaustion since 2007 because the units aren’t air conditioned and this results in prisoner housing in many parts of the state with interior temperatures above 140 degrees. guess what one of the more expensive items available through this “service” is-- did you guess an electric fan? because that would be it. there’s nothing on the list of items available to prisoners that counts as a luxury item unless you think generic tortilla chips and hard peppermint candies are luxuries. my younger son has been in prison here in this state. and i’ve been nickeled and dimed by the commissary system the whole time he was there. one of the four units he was at provided largish quantities of decent food the other three, not so much. three of them had arrangements with j-pay and one of them had their own core commissary system. guess which one.


Although that’s another thing that I have a big problem with. The wages paid to prisoners are offensive. I thought America got rid of slavery more than a hundred years ago.