Prison, Profit, and Politics

There’s a strange intermingling of politics and prison profit bubbling to the surface:

In the United States — with almost 400,000 annual detentions in 2010, up from 280,000 in 2005 — private companies now control nearly half of all detention beds, compared with only 8 percent in state and federal prisons, according to government figures. …

But lost detention contracts are rare and easily replaced in this fast-growing business. Serco’s $10 billion portfolio includes many other businesses, from air traffic control and visa processing in the United States, to nuclear weapons maintenance, video surveillance and welfare-to-work programs in Britain, where it also operates several prisons and two “immigration removal centers.” Companies Use Immigration Crackdown to Turn a Profit (Nina Bernstein, The New York Times, 9/28/11)

The prison industrial complex issue stretches beyond U.S. borders, to Britain and Australia, among others. And it’s got ALEC written all over it.

Is SERCO a member of ALEC? They aren’t listed on ALEC’s website, but that means little when so many companies and legislators are trying to hide their connection to the group.

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12 Responses to “Prison, Profit, and Politics”

  1. It seems to me that turning prisons into for-profit businesses is the way greedy corporations will ensure a free, large, slave labor force for their future profit making endeavors.
    Privatize schools so only the wealthy can afford to be educated, take away jobs so people are forced to steal in order to care for themselves and their families, then make sure there is plenty of room in the prisons.
    If things keep moving in the same direction it won’t be too long before we who are not ultra-rich will be gathering straw and making bricks for America’s pharaohs.

  2. It seems to me that turning prisons into for-profit businesses is the way greedy corporations will ensure a free, large, slave labor force for their future profit making endeavors.
    Privatize schools so only the wealthy can afford to be educated, take away jobs so people are forced to steal in order to care for themselves and their families, then make sure there is plenty of room in the prisons.
    If things keep moving in the same direction it won’t be too long before we who are not ultra-rich will be gathering straw and making bricks for America’s pharaohs.

  3. It seems to me that turning prisons into for-profit businesses is the way greedy corporations will ensure a free, large, slave labor force for their future profit making endeavors.
    Privatize schools so only the wealthy can afford to be educated, take away jobs so people are forced to steal in order to care for themselves and their families, then make sure there is plenty of room in the prisons.
    If things keep moving in the same direction it won’t be too long before we who are not ultra-rich will be gathering straw and making bricks for America’s pharaohs.

  4. Ilo,
    I’ve thought what you wrote; however, I have not written it.

    In Virginia, state prisoners are “allowed” to work in meaningful jobs such as farming, eyeglass production, and cleaning the restrooms at Interstate Rest Stops. This “does” allow them to be outside of their cells, to learn a skill for later use, and provides some income for use in commissary. However, the prisoners are paid virtually nothing and most of the work they do is to support the prison system. The investment and returns are lopsided.

    Also, just this past General Assembly (state legislature), a bill was introduced (I think it passed) that would require the state to withhold in a savings account 10% from any income that the prisoner would earn or receive from any source (including funds from family members). I think this is unethical, especially since the savings account will likely be drained by the state to pay for fines and fees upon a prisoner’s release.

    In other words, the prison complex is increasingly working on ways to self-fund and to become part of the economic development plan of rural communities.

    The practice of growing and sustaining prisons must be replaced by investing in prevention of crime and criminal behaviors.

    • Rev. Cooper
      I am also a Rev., retired UCC. Just attended a marvelous lecture series by Walter Brueggemann and read his new book,Journey to the Common Good. Also heard Robert Reich speak two weeks ago on the current state of politics and the economy. Both men used the framework of Exodus. Thought you might be interested.

      • Ilo,
        Thanks for the information.

        I agree with you about Walter Brueggemann. I heard him speak in San Antonio in June and was captured by his artful weaving of ancient history and contemporary politics framed by his book Journey to the Common Good. With him in San Antonio were Peter Block and John McKnight.

        Dave

  5. Ilo,
    I’ve thought what you wrote; however, I have not written it.

    In Virginia, state prisoners are “allowed” to work in meaningful jobs such as farming, eyeglass production, and cleaning the restrooms at Interstate Rest Stops. This “does” allow them to be outside of their cells, to learn a skill for later use, and provides some income for use in commissary. However, the prisoners are paid virtually nothing and most of the work they do is to support the prison system. The investment and returns are lopsided.

    Also, just this past General Assembly (state legislature), a bill was introduced (I think it passed) that would require the state to withhold in a savings account 10% from any income that the prisoner would earn or receive from any source (including funds from family members). I think this is unethical, especially since the savings account will likely be drained by the state to pay for fines and fees upon a prisoner’s release.

    In other words, the prison complex is increasingly working on ways to self-fund and to become part of the economic development plan of rural communities.

    The practice of growing and sustaining prisons must be replaced by investing in prevention of crime and criminal behaviors.

    • Rev. Cooper
      I am also a Rev., retired UCC. Just attended a marvelous lecture series by Walter Brueggemann and read his new book,Journey to the Common Good. Also heard Robert Reich speak two weeks ago on the current state of politics and the economy. Both men used the framework of Exodus. Thought you might be interested.

      • Ilo,
        Thanks for the information.

        I agree with you about Walter Brueggemann. I heard him speak in San Antonio in June and was captured by his artful weaving of ancient history and contemporary politics framed by his book Journey to the Common Good. With him in San Antonio were Peter Block and John McKnight.

        Dave

  6. Ilo,
    I’ve thought what you wrote; however, I have not written it.

    In Virginia, state prisoners are “allowed” to work in meaningful jobs such as farming, eyeglass production, and cleaning the restrooms at Interstate Rest Stops. This “does” allow them to be outside of their cells, to learn a skill for later use, and provides some income for use in commissary. However, the prisoners are paid virtually nothing and most of the work they do is to support the prison system. The investment and returns are lopsided.

    Also, just this past General Assembly (state legislature), a bill was introduced (I think it passed) that would require the state to withhold in a savings account 10% from any income that the prisoner would earn or receive from any source (including funds from family members). I think this is unethical, especially since the savings account will likely be drained by the state to pay for fines and fees upon a prisoner’s release.

    In other words, the prison complex is increasingly working on ways to self-fund and to become part of the economic development plan of rural communities.

    The practice of growing and sustaining prisons must be replaced by investing in prevention of crime and criminal behaviors.

    • Rev. Cooper
      I am also a Rev., retired UCC. Just attended a marvelous lecture series by Walter Brueggemann and read his new book,Journey to the Common Good. Also heard Robert Reich speak two weeks ago on the current state of politics and the economy. Both men used the framework of Exodus. Thought you might be interested.

      • Ilo,
        Thanks for the information.

        I agree with you about Walter Brueggemann. I heard him speak in San Antonio in June and was captured by his artful weaving of ancient history and contemporary politics framed by his book Journey to the Common Good. With him in San Antonio were Peter Block and John McKnight.

        Dave