Sunday, April 09, 2006

US Prison Rates Continue To Climb Incarceration is Big Business

US Prison Rates Continue To Climb Incarceration is Big Business

“America currently stands accused of acting as the world's jailer in its War on Terror. It is under fire for allegedly running secret jails in other countries, far from public scrutiny. From Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, to Abu Ghraib in Iraq and Bagram airbase in Afghanistan, activists say the US is trampling on human rights in its pursuit of terror suspects. But the roots of the problem may be closer to home, as suggested by words attributed to former Pennsylvania prison guard Charles Graner - ringleader of the Abu Ghraib abuses - which came out during court testimony. ‘The Christian in me says it's wrong, but the corrections officer in me says, 'I love to make a grown man piss himself.’”.

The world is watching as AmeriKKKa rapidly morphs into a prison police state at home and a corporatist fascist rogue state internationally. Humanitarian organizations such as Amnesty International and The Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons have concluded the United States is the world’s largest prison society, jailing and incarcerating more of its citizens than any other nation in the world. AmeriKKKa warehouses more of its citizens than nations like Russia, South Africa, Poland, England or China. The Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons will release its’ report on prison conditions in about eight weeks. It is expected the report will reveal massive over crowding, rampant violence and abuses nation wide. Anyone familiar with AmeriKKKan culture should not be shocked at these findings. AmeriKKKa is the most violent nation in the world, it has a history of terrorism and abuse against its “citizens” of color especially the Native Americans against whom they have an ongoing program of genocide, Africans and their descendants and a host of immigrants since its inception as a sovereign nation. AmeriKKKa currently incarcerates over two point one million of its citizens in federal, state and local (county and city) prisons with the number is growing daily.
Privately owned and publicly traded corporate prisons are a growth industry in AmeriKKKa at a time when even according to the government’s own figures violent crimes are decreasing! One of the reasons for the growth in both public and private prisons in addition to a plethora of draconian laws that authorize mandatory prison sentences is the productivity these prisons generate by working the prisoners for a pittance or in some cases, for free. The roots of prison labor are an integral part of AmeriKKKan history, “Prison labor has its roots in slavery. After the 1861-1865 Civil War, a system of ‘hiring out prisoners’ was introduced in order to continue the slavery tradition. Freed slaves were charged with not carrying out their sharecropping commitments (cultivating someone else’s land in exchange for part of the harvest) or petty thievery – which were almost never proven – and were then ‘hired out’ for cotton picking, working in mines and building railroads. From 1870 until 1910 in the state of Georgia, 88% of hired-out convicts were Black. In Alabama, 93% of ‘hired-out’ miners were Black. In Mississippi, a huge prison farm similar to the old slave plantations replaced the system of hiring out convicts. The notorious Parchman plantation existed until 1972. During the post-Civil War period, Jim Crow racial segregation laws were imposed on every state, with legal segregation in schools, housing, marriages and many other aspects of daily life. ‘Today, a new set of markedly racist laws is imposing slave labor and sweatshops on the criminal justice system, now known as the prison industry complex,’ comments the Left Business Observer.”
Free prision labor is so lucrative the US Army is getting into the act having recently enacted provisions for Army prison labor camps using federal prisoners and a few “pilot programs” of state and local prisoners. Even without the Army prison camps ,federal prisoners’ free labor accounts for much of the production of military equipment in use today. “According to the Left Business Observer, the federal prison industry produces 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents, bags, and canteens. Along with war supplies, prison workers supply 98% of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93% of paints and paintbrushes; 92% of stove assembly; 46% of body armor; 36% of home appliances; 30% of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21% of office furniture. Airplane parts, medical supplies, and much more: prisoners are even raising seeing-eye dogs for blind people.”
That is just the tip of the iceberg. Private prisons are a booming growth industry raking in huge profits on Wall Street trading. “The prison privatization boom began in the 1980s, under the governments of Ronald Reagan and Bush Sr., but reached its height in 1990 under William Clinton, when Wall Street stocks were selling like hotcakes. Clinton’s program for cutting the federal workforce resulted in the Justice Departments contracting of private prison corporations for the incarceration of undocumented workers and high-security inmates. Private prisons are the biggest business in the prison industry complex. About 18 corporations guard 10,000 prisoners in 27 states. The two largest are Correctional Corporation of America (CCA) and Wackenhut, which together control 75%. Private prisons receive a guaranteed amount of money for each prisoner, independent of what it costs to maintain each one. According to Russell Boraas, a private prison administrator in Virginia, ‘the secret to low operating costs is having a minimal number of guards for the maximum number of prisoners.’ The CCA has an ultra-modern prison in Lawrenceville, Virginia, where five guards on dayshift and two at night watch over 750 prisoners. In these prisons, inmates may get their sentences reduced for ‘good behavior,’ but for any infraction, they get 30 days added – which means more profits for CCA. According to a study of New Mexico prisons, it was found that CCA inmates lost ‘good behavior time’ at a rate eight times higher than those in state prisons.”
The problem with CCA system is too few guards monitoring too many prisoners a situation that could lead to wide scale abuses due to lack of supervision. “Gary Harkins, is an officer at the maximum security Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, and also a member of Corrections USA, a group which represents about 120,000 prison guards and opposes the growing number of private prisons. Mr Harkins says OSP works on a ‘direct supervision’ basis, encouraging officers to have interpersonal contact with inmates. This, he says, reduces the threat of violence and makes for a safer institution for both inmates and staff, who are armed with only a radio, a whistle, and a pair of handcuffs. He told the CSAAP inquiry: ‘Unfortunately, new prisons are being built to minimize the number of staff, both in architectural design and by using technologies such as remote cameras and sensor systems. This dehumanizes the inmates and staff alike. I also believe that you need to take the effort of actually walking among the inmates and engaging them in conversation. Unfortunately, with the drastic cutbacks in educational and vocational programs we are currently experiencing, this is becoming a harder task.’” Unfortunately information like this is only reported in the foreign press not the US corporate sock puppets disguising themselves as news and information agencies.
AmeriKKKa is in the process of building even more holding facilities. A subsidiary of Haliburton, Kellogg Brown and Root recently was granted a multi- million dollar “contract” to build “immigrant emergency detention centers”?! What’s that about? Why does the US government anticipate the need for such detention facilities? Given the long history of slave and prison labor in AmeriKKKa and the abuses we have witness by US military personnel in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Afghanistan and other places around the world, is there any doubt those abuses will not replicate themselves here as the US prison population continues to skyrocket? Incarceration is big business. The more prisons they build, the more prisoners they’ll need. Beware the growing AmeriKKKan gulag.



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