Prison Profiteers: extracting billions by exploiting prisoners and their families


#1

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#2

Justice in this country has become a profit generator like everything else. The new slavery.


#3

Land of the Free. Largest prison population in the world.
Never let it be said that Americans lack irony.


#4

Pfft, if they're in prison they obviously deserved it. The justice system never screws up or enforces bullshit laws.


#5

Our Prime Minister has been pushing the idea of private prisons here as well. Monstrous is the only word that even remotely applies.


#6

Yep -- not an overstatement.


#7

If the lower class isn't working, they should be forced to make money for the rich.


#8

Hey' it's a free country! Oops, never mind.


#9

The phone system is only one small part of it. The conditions, sadism, and unaccountability is the scary part. It's one of those rare things that's actually worse than it's portrayed in the movies.

There are some few groups trying to help. If you want news on actual people who are dying, or stories about pregnant women being kept in shackles as they give birth, you can follow http://www.texasjailproject.org/.

There are times when it all seems so futile, and I think that the only way is to find the home addresses of the people involved and do to them what they do to other people.


#10

The real news is why anyone would expect a government-granted and protected monopoly to be any different.

The quote in the article about the hotel industry was telling. "Private" prisons are nothing like the hotel industry. Hotel customers are voluntary, have many choices due to a relatively open market, and can switch at any time if they are unhappy with the service.

That comparison, though, points us to a partial solution: competitive private prisons where the prisoners get to choose where they go. This isn't a hugely better solution, but it at least puts a roadblock between the cronies and their government benefactors, disconnecting some of the incentives to keep the prisons full.


#11

But that is problematic, in and of itself. Prisoners would make decisions based on proximity to family, so what if all the private prisons are clustered in a particular region? Secondly, if the prisoners made a decision to go to the "better" prisons, might those prisons just be over crowded? Thirdly, we'd have to be in a different universe where victims of crimes agree to the perps having choice, instead of their freedom being taken away and their fate being dictated by the system. It's bad enough that sentencing and charging is unequal in the criminal justice system. Realistically, all I can envision is a hierarchy where the better connected, better represented and wealthier get to decide and the "lessers" get the crappier private prison. And gang members would, no doubt, opt to be in a collective situation to maintain power and control.


#12

Some of this has been circumvented by guards, who have taken it upon themselves to smuggle cell phones into prisons, to gang members, I guess for bribes. I've seen multiple news stories like this in the past year.


#13

OK...I'll let others handle the much-warranted outrage and justified fury over all this. Just two points to check out to get your blood boiling even more.

1) Guess which lobbies and unions have been behind nearly every hideous, draconian federal minimum sentencing statute inflicted on this supposedly free country. Look it up and you will see there are a few common threads. Its like Kafka and Orwell teamed up to create the ultimate dystopian fictional nightmare...except this is reality.

2) The railroading starts young: a lot of state prison planners use inner city literacy rates for kindergarteners and first-graders to plan for future "occupancy." This nauseating application of "data mining" is then used to contract out to the profiteers.

The "corrections industry" needs to be driven from existence. It's promoters and enablers deserve a long, unpleasant taste of its service.


#14

Do you have more information on your second point?


#15

In August the FCC took a major step in the right direction by announcing a rate cap on long-distance calls made by inmates. It was a hard-fought victory, albeit a limited one.

Why limited? To quote the Washington Post,

In a 2 to 1 decision, the agency voted to immediately cap how much prison phone-service providers can charge the recipients of an inmate’s call at 25 cents per-minute so that a 15-minute long-distance call won’t exceed $3.75. The FCC also banned the providers from charging extra fees to connect a call or use a calling card.

Given the additional technical requirements -- for monitoring, recording, restricting calls, etc. -- I can't see $0.25/minute as being too much....


#16

Not really trolling, but how many poor people employ others ??? Just asking. . .


#17

Your question seems rhetorical, but I can't perceive its point. Could you please paraphrase? What are you trying to say?


#18

Simply put, by definition, employers are "rich" as compared to their employees. Otherwise they wouldn't have the coin to PAY employees.

As it applies to the prison system, I have no problem requiring prisoners working to pay their keep if they want any privileges more that enough nutrition to sustain life, a suitable shelter to sleep in, and basic medical care as required.

PRIVILEGES should be earned.


#19

I see. But what I think you're not seeing in the forest, so focused are you on the trees.

"Private prison companies openly admit that their profits depend on locking up more people."

http://www.cnbc.com/id/44874053


#20

Which would require conviction by a court of law and jury of peers.

On the other hand, given the proliferation of laws and regs, we're ALL felons every day, it only takes an interested prosecutor to put you away. . .

The solution is obvious, and comes to us from the Bard of Avon: Kill all the lawyers (grin)