Are We Incentivizing Incarcerations?

The other day, I came across this disturbing memo (courtesy of the Huffington Post) from Corrections Corporations of America (CCA). The CCA wants to buy up state-owned correctional facilities in exchange for cash in order to help states ease budget shortfalls due to the Great Recession.

CCA wants to purchase state-owned prisons in exchange for cash to alleviate budget shortfalls as long as the state can guarantee the prisons would be filled to at least 90% capacity.

Hold up… rewind. Yep, you heard that right. The state must guarantee that the prisons stay full. This is code word for putting more cops in the streets looking for crimes that may not even exist and passing more legislation aimed at minor drug offenses. This, of course, incentivizes corruption and improper incarceration.

However, this is nothing new to those who have payed attention the last 20 or so years. There has been a push to make prisons a mainstay in America. From the immigration debate and SB 1070 in Arizona to Florida politicians receiving millions of dollars from GEO Group and CCA, prisons are becoming big business nowadays (Oh and let’s not forget the successful War on Drugs).

This is becoming a problem in America because not everyone who goes to jail is guilty (yea I know, crazy, huh?). Not everyone who goes to jail is guilty because the system is biased. Some people may say the prison idustrial complex is racist and that is definitely debatable. The system most likely is racist, but the system becomes a larger problem when we start throwing people in jail for minor violations like having a personal amount of marijuana or being a drug abuser. This act of incarcerating these people goes beyond race. It hits everyone. Plus, drug abusers don’t need to be placed in prisons, they need medical help because they are sick.

 

Incarceration Statistics

Since the Nixon administration started the War on Drugs, you would figure that incarceration rates and drug use would have gone down. I mean, the purpose of building prisons is to deter violent crimes and drug peddling; It’s supposed to give people the time to think about the wrongs they’ve committed onto others. So we should see less prisons being built and less crime committed. That should be an agreeable product of success.

But history supports that the War on Drugs and the prison industrial complex work hand in hand—With lobbyists’ hands in the pockets of prison-profiteering politicians.

Let’s take a look at the crime numbers according to the New York Times,

The odds of being murdered or robbed are now less than half of what they were in the early 1990s, when violent crime peaked in the United States. Small towns, especially, are seeing far fewer murders: In cities with populations under 10,000, the number plunged by more than 25 percent last year.

That’s good news, right? Violent crimes are decreasing so the prison system must be working. But if that’s the case, why are our incarceration rates increasing at alarming numbers?

Even though crimes rates are falling, incarceration rates are steady on the uptick because prisons equal profit. It’s a sad reflection of the times we live in, but it’s the truth nonetheless.

And with the system being inherently racist, this means that our tax dollars are being used to fund a failing War on Drugs and a racist prison system that is ruining the culture of millions of minorities in America. It’s tearing families apart, but do we even care?

And I don’t mean to point out the potentially racist system to make any one culture feel guilty. I point this out because if the weakest among us are being unjustifiably imprisoned, it’s going to have an effect on all of us, regardless of race, creed or income.

For a so-called Christian nation, we have our values twisted.

Advertisements

3 Comments

    1. The corruption is alarming. And so many people ask “Why are there people in the streets protesting? Can’t they all get jobs?” It’s laughable.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s