Private Prisons

Pot Legalization Foe Getting Rich off the Drug War

(También en Español)

News of Note: Pot Legalization Foe Getting Rich off the Drug War

“The lobbyist who helped kill California’s Proposition 19, the 2010 ballot measure that would have legalized recreational marijuana, has constructed an entire business model around keeping pot illegal. While fighting against the proposed law, lobbyist John Lovell accepted nearly $400,000 from a wide array of police unions, some of which he also represented in attempting to steer millions of federal dollars toward California’s marijuana suppression programs….

“Police unions and their lobbyists weren’t the only economic interests with a stake in Prop. 19. The alcohol industry and prison guards also contributed money to fight the measure. “

Is cannabis illegal because America needs more people in prison? Is cannabis illegal because people shouldn’t have an alternative to alcohol? If not, then how do these lobbyists justify their support of cannabis prohibition? Locking people up in prison not because they are dangerous, but because you profit from it, is a crime against humanity. The primary opponents against cannabis legalization are not concerned with human safety.

When laws are passed under false pretenses, who is our government looking out for? And what is our society turning into?

Creative Commons Image by Petr Brož

Occupy Joins the Fight Against Private Prisons

(También en Español)

News of Note: Occupy Joins the Fight Against Private Prisons

“Yango, a middle-aged African-American DC native active in both Occupy DC and the prison divestment movement, spent over a decade in Rivers Correctional Facility, a private prison located in Winton, North Carolina, 251 miles outside DC….

“Yango described his time there as “a horror story” marked by inedible sludge and negligent medical treatment, although he emphasized that the worst aspect was, “There are no programs for men who are housed there which means that when a guy comes out of Rivers, he is not prepared to come back to his community to make a positive contribution…

“According to the DC Department of Corrections, African-Americans make up 92 percent of the city’s prison population compared to just 55 percent of the overall DC population. With this in mind, it comes as a shock to many that GEO knowingly built the prison on the former site of one of North Carolina’s largest slave plantations. The symbolism of making a profit from jailing black nonviolent offenders atop the remnants of a plantation their ancestors were forced to labor on was not lost on the crowd.”

I’m so glad to see the Occupy movement still making headlines. Raising awareness about private prisons and the connections they have with big banks is an incredibly noble and valuable feat. These prisons are for-profit businesses that bribe their way into filling every single bed with anyone they can, farming human lives for tax dollars. Do I need to remind you that America has the highest incarceration rate in the entire world? We should be outraged. This life destroying charade must come to an end.

 *Creative Commons image by Casey Serin

For-Profit Private Prisons

News of Note: Private Prison Charges Inmates $5 a Minute for Phone Calls While They Work for $1 a Day

Last year the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation’s largest private prison company, received $74 million of taxpayers’ money to run immigration detention centers. Their largest facility in Lumpkin, Georgia, receives $200 a night for each of the 2,000 detainees it holds, and rakes in yearly profits between $35 million and $50 million.

Prisoners held in this remote facility depend on the prison’s phones to communicate with their lawyers and loved ones. Exploiting inmates’ need, CCA charges detainees here $5 per minute to make phone calls. Yet the prison only pays inmates who work at the facility $1 a day. At that rate, it would take five days to pay for just one minute.

Most people are unaware that  private prisons exist. These entirely for profit commercial enterprises lobby elected and appointed officials to keep laws in place that call for longer and tougher sentences. Did you know the US has the highest incarceration rate in the entire world? It is not okay for America to be oblivious to the needlessly suffering this profiteering causes or how corrupt this corporate-government connection actually is.


Slideshow image source: abardwell