The Money-Spinning Prison Industrial Complex

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The money-spinning prison industrial complex isn’t a new concept. It’s been around since the chain-gang days. Arguably, they benefited the community by doing hard labor, but times and prisons have changed. The idea of cheap labor has matured into a profit-spinning, lucrative business for those invested in the prison machine.
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Is it a new form of slavery? The world prison population ranks the United States in first position with 2,228,424 prisoners, equating to roughly 25% of the world’s prison population. It’s double the amount of China, who ranks second with 1,701,344, yet has a population five times greater than the US. [1]

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Sentence discrepancy has played a role in the US figures. Less than 5 grams of rock cocaine carries a 10 year sentence while 500 grams of cocaine powder carries 5 years. Human rights organizations’ argue the discrepancy as being race and social based – cocaine powder is used mainly in middle to upper class echelons of society.

New York’s 1970’s Rockefeller Drug Laws also influenced sentencing. Governor Nelson Rockefeller launched a costly program aimed at rehabilitating narcotics addicts, doing little to reduce drug use. As a result, the Rockefeller Drug Law enacted a mandatory minimum sentencing of 15 years to life, for possession of 4 ounces of narcotics.

Prison labor is at the heart of the prison industrial complex. Without a booming population, the system would collapse. Thirty-seven states have legalized prison labor contracts for private corporations in prisons. Some of these companies are AT&T, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Target, and IBM. [2]

Private prisons also receive set amounts of money to achieve targets. In the States, CCA and Wackenhut control the majority of private prisons. Across Europe, the UK and Australia, G4S (a Wackenhut subsidiary)^^[3] control most private prisons. Each prisoner carries a dollar value, equating to funds received by the prison to continue their contract. [4] In the US, the private system houses approximately 8 percent of the prison population. [5]

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Prison labor is the cheapest source of labor in western society. The 13th Amendment permits the use of slavery as, “a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”

From the days of crushing rocks to today’s construction of various items, the slave labor regime is truly alive. For some, it’s an integral key to survival in an uncertain economy, drawing away from ‘free-world’ employment to cheap prison employment. After all, hourly rates at a low of 17 cents for 6 hour days, no employee strikes, no vacation time, or insurance to pay; the investors may liken their find to a jackpot.

[1] International Centre for Prison Studies. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.prisonstudies.org/highest-to-lowest/occupancy-level?field_region_taxonomy_tid=All&=Apply

[2] Pelaez, V. (2014, March 31). The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery? [Global Research]. Retrieved from http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-prison-industry-in-the-united-states-big-business-or-a-new-form-of-slavery/8289

[3] ^^ Wackenhut, G4S, Group 4 Falck, Group 4 Securitas, G4S Wackenhut are all related subsidiaries. Private sources.

[4] Private Sources.

[5] Flatow, N. (2014, September 17). The United States has the Largest Prison Population in the World — and it’s Growing. [ThinkProgress]. Retrieved from http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/09/17/3568232/the-united-states-had-even-more-prisoners-in-2013/

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Want to stay out of these statistics? Obey the law, stay out of trouble, IT IS THAT SIMPLE! And private prisons are more cost effective that public prisons.

      • Ignorance is bliss until that day you find yourself in a prison camp for mowing your lawn on a Tuesday. Laugh now.

      • Or just common sense? It’s not that hard to see that he is righ about obaying the law. Most gangsters are black Americans with little or incomplete education. Now look at the majority of prison inmates. Black Americans again. The vast majority of inmates in general are high school drop outs with no higher education and with no stable family or work structure which would motivate one to stay out of trouble to keep these good things going. It does not have to be a government poster to use your head and not your anger or uneducation to stay out of jail or prision

  2. I’ve watched a documentary on this called The House I Live In, it basically argues the same points as here but I found it interesting to hear from the other side of the bars from people doing long sentences for non-violent crimes.

  3. john tudek sr .. easy .. ok do you know what law is and legal are they the same are police and sheriffs the same . private prisons are part of the immigration problem you hate soo much . you love your cheap labor on your house dont you . but cant stand when you want help over the phone you cant understand the person your speaking to . LAws are responsible for putting some of the brightest criminals in prison but cant ever put the right ones in there say like your leaders Hillary Clinton for del 30,000 emails on Benghazi . not a single person i have seen yet brave enough to wanna stand with me and claim it back your a man in your capacity and you have the right to administer anylevel government at anytime . the agents do not . and if they fail you can sue them . and it happens every day in courts across
    the nation for information

  4. I would like to see more prisons where poeple work and pay reparation to families who’s lives they have destroyed. What’s about those people’s rights? In some countries people commit Hineous crimes and get to walk into free world a few years and in some cases months only to offend again…. I don’t know. I think I’d like to see those around

  5. Beside police killing, imagine the people in over run prisons and bare in mind with me fellow people. What one person is guilty of doesnt necessarily mean guilty of another. Our systems have done nothing but trumped up charges left and right for thier own personal gains. It is beliefs that yes murderous people and pedophiles shall sit in prisons for their crimes but lets look at domestics. There is no justification for any female or male to mentally and physically abuse eachother let alone as example a female mentally abuse a male to the point physical happens. Under annuit seclorum under youtube is a page that undergoes a problem just with our system. A victim who compulsively lied and a mental state defendant who was was molested as a child from the father the victim stated she was having sexual affairs with in which a defendant lost control and appearing from victim in recordings says it wasnt him that ” she knows he didnt mean to” as unintended. They charged him with domestic and wilfull and kidnapping 1st degree life prison. With the recording shown on that page consist of no period kidnapping and inconsistancies let alone willful injury is. The intent to cause bodily harm. With the victim on record stating so much the state looked past it just for their own benefits and personal feelings to trump charges up of a first time offender who has no past of violence and was even his first time offender in jail. Which then they used scare tactics to make him plea to a hefty tyrant charge of 15years over a domestic case. No I dont stand up for any man nor women who abuse mentally Or physical Yes she has injuries however she even admits he didnt mean to honestly I dont believe anybody beside being touched as a child from a father in which a girlfriend just stated had sexual affairs with would be in a right state of mind however what we stand for is truth period not bias or conflict and is equal not unequal . Look for yourselves. Imagine why our prisons are so over run due to problems like this charges of innocence of one crime and because they interfere personal and correct judgments over whats guilty.

  6. Theonly people making money out of crime are the people running the system,making wages out of misery ,judges,lawyers ,police,doctor’s, psychiatrists,phycologists, prison warders ,cheap labourers, criminologists, social workers,drug councillor’s, the list has sub lists it just goes on snd on,the dystem is not broken its working perfectly!!?!.

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