Wisconsin: a paradise for white kids, hell for black kids

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For-profit and PPP prisons are a bad bad idea.


I moved from Texas to Kenosha several years ago and lived there for about 2 years. It’s a beautiful place but I was shocked at the racism the average person there displays. Coming from Texas, I thought I had seen racism… but Kenosha worked on a whole other level. Yes, black people have it bad there but the worst treatment I saw consistently was towards brown people.


Sounds like a horrible place to raise my white kids. Where any work I’d done at home to avoid raising racists was undone at school and the surrounding environment.


Prisons are a bad idea. To single out private prisons implies that our prisons serve a valid social purpose, but are corrupted by the influence of profit.

That’s true for systems like healthcare, where the original purpose is to heal people, but then it gets derailed and distorted by market incentives. But the original purpose of prisons is to contain people through force and control them through domination.

So private prisons are bad, but the reason they’re bad is they mistreat defenseless people. And that won’t change if you make the prison public, because that’s still the purpose of prison in general.


Racism runs deep in my home state, fo sho.

Most of it is rural as hell, and since the natives have mostly been decimated, it’s down to the immigrants who settled there, which are majorly white northern-europe types (germanic, nordic, irish), and have been around for long enough to not think of themselves as immigrants.

The biggest challenge to bias is familiarity, and most of Wisco is sadly unfamiliar with black people.

It’s the same thing that happens in rural communities…the world over, I’d imagine. It’s why horrible racism is still a thing.


So what do you do with people who can’t abide by societies rules?


Pretty much. It’s why UKIP did well in areas where there aren’t many immigrants.

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I was going to post the same exact thing. Walker is a crook and the sooner Wisconsin wakes up, the better.


Publicly run prisons have also mistreated defenseless people. What makes privately run prisons worse is profit motive and active lobbying for legislation to ever escalate petty, often victimless crime into felonies in order to keep all the beds full.

[edit] Oh, and I forgot the slave labor to undermine the wages of the not-incarcerated population.


Un-fucking-believable. Precisely how do these cops think the children they ticket or arrest are going to regard them, or the police department as a whole, in the future? For the Caddyshack viewers among us, I think this scene would be accurate:

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What would we do with people who do not “abide by society’s rules”?

Well for one thing: get rid of the vast majority of those so-called rules. Then…

  1. The dangerous offenders should be put someplace secure where they cannot hurt others or society. Does not have to be a prison system as we now know it. You can still call it prison if it makes people comfortable, though.

  2. The non-dangerous offenders should get to work in public service, supervised work crews, and productive initiatives.

  3. Repeat offenders should move toward a permanent status in the above stage.

Prisons are like war: horrible, destructive concepts that we’ve come to accept as the norm. Just like war, they are sometimes neccessary. But we don’t have to pursue it so enthusiastically for every damn thing that comes across the scene.

The American fetish with locking people up for all sorts of things…most hideously first-time offenders…is a collossal societal dysfunction fueled by the worst aspects of human nature, That we are now turning it into an “industry” is an abomination straight out of hell.

A good step toward sanity would be to eliminate “mandatory sentencing” laws. The next step could be the elimination of the “for-profit” motive in the sector – and the willpower to send the “corrections lobby” packing permanently.

Just a start. We just should not have so many people in prison…and we certainly do not have to make it the baseline approach to law enforcement.

Well…you asked.


Take a look at prison systems in Scandinavia and other European countries, I think you’ll find most of your proposals implemented.


This reminds me of a mala prohibita (crime because we said so) vs mala in se (crime because it’s wrong) discussion. The entire class of mala prohibita laws should be done away with IMO. It makes sense to have theft, rape, murder etc be a punishable crime but then there are crimes like prostitution, drugs use, jaywalking. These are only crimes because a certain religious majority or corporate interest says it should be.


I agree the prison system needs reformed. But what you are proposing is still prison.


If it’s a matter of nomenclature, how about calling them rehabilitation centers? How about making the emphasis less punitive and more restorative? Sure, some just can’t be restored or rehabilitated, but the name could do a better job of implying that most can (which is aside from the issue that I too want to acknowledge – that most of them shouldn’t be there in the first place).


You know I really liked that Quentin Tarantino film where he mercilessly killed racists.


This is done for public prisons as well. There’s a lot of money in prisons, regardless if the facility is public or private. Constructing new facilities, securing and creating jobs for prison staff, awarding contracts for prison services…these are all reasons that state and county-run facilities seek to increase the jail population.

You’re right that de-facto forced labor in jail is a terrible abuse, but most of it happens at public jails. Even if private prisons were abolished, all of the problems you described would continue, and there’s no reason to even think they would be reduced. The government is just as willing and able to exploit and abuse prisoners as the private sector is.


To start with, your premise is flawed: That there should be one solution for anyone who doesn’t obey the rules.
People break rules for many different reasons, and the solutions have to be at least as variable. If someone is addicted to drugs, maybe they need rehab. If someone has emotional/psychological troubles maybe they need counselling or a different life environment. If someone is poor and desperate maybe they need security and opportunity. There are many more possibilities, and they all require creative and context-specific solutions.

This is what actual communities do: they consider people’s offences on a personal and social level, and decide the appropriate way to restore harmony in the community. Prison is the opposite philosophy: you don’t have to understand anyone, because there’s this massive trash can you can exile anyone into at will. Someone causing trouble? Trash 'em. Problem solved. Does the same kind of trouble seem to keep happening again and again? No, don’t bother understanding it. No need to fuss around with social solutions, just trash them all. Much cleaner that way.

If we didn’t have prisons, it would be impossible to trash people this way. We would be forced to figure out how to live together. We would learn to maintain functional communities, even if it was sometimes messy or heartbreaking. But as long as there’s a trash can, society will always use that easy option. This is why our only hope for progress is to destroy the trash can.


Eat them.