The nature of opposites where opposing opinions abound, but where opposition attracts its opponent is the world of PIC - that is the picture of the Prison Industrial Complex. The article commentary should mirror the majority of public opinion, but big money seizes it. Knowing the causes and consequences of PIC is the beginning of changing opinions, mandatory for change.
"A problem is never solved by ignoring it." wrote DrewInGeorgia
The selected excerpted comments are the reaction to NPR's OnPoint audio "The Cost of Prison"
My son has spent over 1 year in jail. During high-school graduation week, he aided his friend who was being attacked by a violent, drugged up person. This person had a better lawyer. There are many mis-conceptions about incarceration held by people who have never had anyone in jail. In one local jail, there is no outdoor space -when held there for up to a year - the inmates will never go outside. Another local jail will not allow books to be donated, even though they don't have enough books. Inmates are shipped 70 miles from the suburban area; we, a relatively affluent suburban family could still visit our son - but this is a terrible burden for the families who cannot just get into a reliable car and spend $50 on gas each week to support their family members. Information to lock people up is not reliable - my son was sent back to jail for allegedly failing a drug test which he allegedly did not show up for!! The worst results however, are when these people get out. Even when a person has finished his sentence and paid society for his crime - he will not be able to get a job. The military will not take felons with 1year + sentence Most corporations and government entities will not hire prior felons. The extensive computer networks which checkup on people make it extremely hard for well-intentioned young people to make a fresh start. We ended up sending our son to Europe. Over there he can be the bright, intelligent, reliable, hardworking man that we know he is, and he can contribute to society.
hammermann, Journalist specializing in commentary, Inter. affairs, FSU, science,
How terrible. The prison industrial complex is destroying most of the people sent through it, making them damaged emotional cripples who can't take initiative, can't get a job, can't ever get clear. What do the hard-line bastards think happens when inmates are raped, beaten, bullied for even a few months? Half the people are there for drugs- nothing more. The expansion of America's PIC is a tragedy and an obscenity that costs a fortune. We could GIVE cons $20K a year, save 60% and they wouldn't have to be criminals! Wasn't the old rub against the Commies that they were "Police States". Well step aside world- we're # 1!!!!!! USA USA!
The supplied link is from 2009 but unfortunately it is just as relevant in 2013 (if not more so). It is still going on but doesn't come to light very often for obvious reasons. I am sorry to hear of your troubles, just be thankful your "affluence" put you in a position to be able to do something about it. The majority of parents in that situation have Zero options.
The NY Times reports that Florida Atlantic University, in Boca Raton, has struck a deal to rename its football building "GEO Group Stadium."
The GEO Group is a private for-profit prison corporation.
and if the team does not make any money there they can just put some razor wire around the top and get more govt "clients"
[name left off]
Tom: Thanks for this program. The majority of persons behind bars can be diagnosed with major psychiatric disorders. It's not a coincidence we ruined the mental health system from the 1960's on. As a community child psychiatrist in Michigan for the past 30 years, I know that our collective failure to intervene effectively with troubled children results in filling our prisons. Fortunately, the solution is to provide effective psychiatric and mental health services to the families of children behind the 8-ball.
On the topic of prosecution of criminals in the contemporary War on Drugs:
I seriously find the weight of race or color of one's skin to be less than what it used to be in decades past when it comes to prosecution. Instead, lawyers who represent the prosecution are more interested in raw numbers. It is not a matter of race/gender/economic background but instead a matter of how many people one lawyer can put into prison over another.
A feather in one's cap goes to the highest prosecution rate.
Absolutely right. The weight of Conviction Rate far exceeds the value of Justice. It's tragic.
If you look at behavioral psychology, punishment is only effective in changing behavior when used infrequently and paired with reward.
I was in federal prision. we had an indocranation of sorts. we were told that there was a problem with under population at the moment and that they were working hard to remedy the problem. we looked around the room wondering why that was a problem. she said and i quote. "yes gentlemen this is a buisness and yes this is about money". the federal goverment is picking up cases that states and local goverments drop and convicting people for less and les serious offenses to keep prisons full. i do believe the average person would be surprised by what some people are in prison for and for how long the sentences are.
I know your states are true. My brothers are victims of cooperate greed and white-supremacy.
And when you have for-profit corporations running prisons, (Corrections Corporation of America, GEO Group, etc.), it's in their vested interest to support things draconian minimum sentencing. They want to lock up as many people as possible and keep them there as long as possible, justice be damned.
you may want to let your listeners know that Michelle Alexander author of The New Jim Crow mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness will be speaking at 5:30 Feb 25 at the Yale Divinity School on line. yaledivinityschool.com
this is right on point to you topic and lays out serious flaws
in the social justice system. The War on Drugs is central to the concerns and solutions presented.
I repeat. Your show missed the most vital "point." Half a million people per year are released into a society where they will never find a job b/c 90% of employers do background checks.
If these people can't find a job what are they supposed to do?
As one who leans hard toward libiratian ideals I believe our justice system from the Patriot Act down definately needs a through examination and re-thinking.
Highest incarceration rate in the world, yet not one criminal prosecution or conviction of any of the criminals in the finance sector responsible for crashing the economy and ruining the lives of millions of people.
Sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing…
Because Obama is bought and paid for.
Record prison rates, divorce rates, mass shootings, poverty, and, our nation's ineptness with mental illness; what do these say about our society?
They are societal ills, and systemic, part of a greater problem. Maybe, it is a decline in values.
Perhaps these societal ills do have an economic correlation, as the caller Jim suggests. When economic opportunites are few and of low quality, and companies and corporations abandon many of our nation's cities, what fills this void?
One thing appears ominous: if our nation cannot effectively address these serious societal ills, many more decades of social decay seem inevitable.
The point? A problem is never solved by ignoring it.
Follow the money. As profits flow to private prison corporations, they will lobby to keep the inmates coming. It will turn out that private prisons actually don't save the states any money, as with the privatized military contractors and the federal gvt, but that won't make any difference as long as the contributions are there for the pols.
It is us who give leverage to the wealthiest and most brutal types of humans. We vote them into office, we buy their products, we worship them. We should hang our heads in shame for allowing the mentally ill or the poor to rot in jail. In fact jail itself is so antiquated an idea that it is reason enough to look at ourselves as a modern, civilized or decent society.
The legalization of victimless crime will also go a LONG WAY to alleviating violent crime!!!
The main source of funding for organized crime is removed, as well as the driving force of gang activity... curtailing these forces eliminates a HUGE contributor to a culture of violence.
Tax victimless crime, and use some of the revenue for first rate anti-drug advertising campaigns and first rate drug rehab... but even the elimination of the "taboo" factor will help to stem some of the drug "coolness" factor, curtailing use by teens.
These things also all help ensure that drug addicts won't need to burglarize or mug to support their habit, as does the fact that drugs would be far cheaper.
Everyone knows that legalizing victimless crime is THE ANSWER to myriad problems in our society, SO JUST DO IT!!!!
In addition to all the human rights issues you raise, the Daily Yonder has an excellent article today that shows that siting prisons in rural communities is not a positive economic development strategy. In fact communities are left as poor and with fewer resources for development. Check it out
I echo Jarvis DeBerry's recommendation of Michelle Alexander's book, "The New Jim Crow" about how mass incarceration functions as a nominally color-blind system of racial discrimination.
One of the most striking points of Michelle Alexander's book, to me, was how every stage of our justice system -- from police searches, to bringing charges, to plea bargaining, sentencing, and parole -- not only allows racial discrimination but has actually systematically closed off the avenues for challenging blatantly discriminatory practices.
Research shows that white people and black people commit drug offenses at the same rate -- not just close; identical. Black people are sent to prison for drugs; white people are, for the most part, not. Black communities bear the brunt of the resulting disenfranchisement, and white communities escape it.
This is absolutely the civil rights issue of our time. Our courts are turning a blind eye, and economic pragmatism will only take us so far.
Tom, can your guests comment on any prospects they see for a broader based social movement to challenge this profound injustice?
From my spot as an assistant public defender in a virtually all white county in Tennessee, the issue is CLASS. Your comment is dead on that poor people go to jail (of whatever ethnicity) and wealthier people, for the most part, do not go to jail. Or have the Department of Children's Services take their children away for being a bad parent.
From the comments at The Cost Of Prison
February 20, 2013 at 10:00 AM