I absolutely agree with the author, these prisons are barbaric and cruel. The idea of running a prison for profit should outrage Americans, but it seems nothing really causes much outrage, least of all how prisoners are treated. Prisons for profit are the reason we house more prisoners than any other country on the globe, and I have a suspicion that too is why we will not decriminalize marijuana. Marijuana feeds the prison system. We have less violent crime and more prisoners, how does that make sense? Only by viewing this as a for profit business and not a extension of our justice system.
Thursday July 4, 2013, 5:44 pm
The intensive lobbying done by the corporate prison industry ensures that laws and sentencing guidelines remain excessive and inappropriate, keeping the number of incarcerated individuals so ridiculously high. Of course, rehabilitation would be out of the question, because they want repeat offenders in privatized prisons. This is a pretty diabolical system.
Friday July 5, 2013, 5:24 am
"But perhaps the greatest threat private prisons pose to inmates is their constant need for inmates. While overall crime — especially violent crime — has rapidly declined in recent years, the U.S. incarcerates more individuals than ever. This is great news for the private prison industry. With private prisons receiving upwards of $200 per inmate per night, the more beds occupied, the more revenue."
Friday July 5, 2013, 1:16 pm
Sadly when Lincoln freed the slaves most of us either forgot or never knew that anyone who is locked up for a crime does not count. Today for profit prisons are just slave plantations by another name! This is an industry that is growing faster then any other part of our economy as it is a huge profit maker for all of the big corporations. Do not think that because you do not break any laws you are safe as people are being picked up and ran through the systems for all most anything including no crimes at all. Children as young as 5th grade are being assessed because the younger they are identified the easier it is to get them for life. We now have more people in prision then all other countries combined!
Friday July 5, 2013, 1:21 pm
I wish that prisons were concerned about rehabilitation for certain crimes. I wish there was more concern for many of the younger adults before they even make it to the criminal system. Prevention is always cheaper.
For those that commit horrible crimes like serial murderers, serial rapists, child molesters, etc, the prisons should be horrible. If these select criminals die because of maltreatment, who cares.
Friday July 5, 2013, 2:34 pm
One thing i didn't notice mentioned in this article is that most of these private prison corporations put a clause in their contracts with governments that requires a certain minimum number of inmates be housed, which in turn puts pressure on law enforcement to meet quotas, which in turn puts justice into question.
Friday July 5, 2013, 3:28 pm
The U.S. started down that slippery slope towards privatizing everything long ago. I'll admit to being in the dark until after 9/11 when private corporate mercenary contractors were given a windfall with "no-bid-cost-plus" contracts in Afghanistan, then Iraq. Since they got that passed so easily by Congress, their next big strike was to Social Security privatization. Thanks to millions of Americans, that didn't work. So, they're focusing on the prison system now....which is not on the top of most Americans' radar. But, it should be, because as others commented...new laws are being created to entrap more people within the prison system. SCOTUS just last week ruled that a person invoking their right to silence could "mean they're guilty."
Friday July 5, 2013, 5:24 pm
Well, unlike Hugh W, I feel that inmates are all human beings and deserve equal treatment regardless of guilt or innocence (which our justice system has been fairly inaccurate at determining anyway). Many are mentally ill also. Perhaps I am prejudiced sonce my husband is currently incarcerated in a private prison. He is 69 years old and arthritic. About 6 weeks ago he was moved to a different area than he had been in, and assigned to a top bunk, despite his explanation that he was not physically able to negotiate that. Two weeks later, he had fallen twice. The first time he received no medical treatment at all. The second time he received an Ace bandage and medical instructions to assign him to a bottom bunk. Now, four weeks later, medical personnel have finally noticed that he has a broken tailbone. They have also finally provided him an actual knee brace, not the one the doctor initially ordered which has metal in it (gasp!), but at least a better one than an Ace bandage. He is still on crutches (which are made of aluminum - go figure) and is expected to be so for at least another month. I love my husband despite his mental issues (which are actually physical issues since they derive from a head injury - although I have never heard of anyone choosing to be mentally ill regardless of the cause). Incidentally he has never hurt anyone and I doubt he ever would.
Friday July 5, 2013, 10:30 pm
I don't know, but Louisiana, where all prisons are for-profit, is the incarceration capital of the world. Police target young black men they know lack the means to defend themselves, charge them with bogus crimes and then lock them up, and throw away the key. It's at its very worst in a part of the state known as St. Tammany Parish.
What's even worse than that is that the DA's son is guilty of negligent homicide/manslaughter (he was drunk as could be and wrecked a boat, killing his only friend); and one of the judges known for draconian sentencing's youngest daughter was among the first to introduce methamphetamine into the parish (county).
Saturday July 6, 2013, 5:53 am
One aspect that is never mentioned if at all is the increasing number of mentally challenged individuals incarcerated in prisons across the nation. The prison staff are not trained to deal with the various mental diseases. Many cities have cut back on their mental health facilities due to economic times. When a homeless person; many who are mentally diseased, becomes a problem they become part of the system whether it is a public or private facility. I suspect that in the very near future many of these homeless people or people who become a problem will be incarcerated in these types of institutions. FEMA camps are a nightmare waiting to happen.
Saturday July 6, 2013, 9:31 pm
I am totally opposed to "for Profit" prisons. We have a higher incarceration rate than any country in the world, and I believe the privatization of prisons is the reason.
Sunday July 7, 2013, 1:18 am
As a prison volunteer, many of the men with whom I work have been to a CCA facility And describe it as more dangerous with little opportunity for prisoners who want to change.
Sunday July 7, 2013, 1:20 pm
Thanks Judy for placing this important story on here. I know that for many people concern about prisoners or the prison system in general is not high on their priority list, but it needs to be. So many great comments that there is little for me to add other than anything that is For Profit in these Greedy days is to be careful of and to cringe over. As someone said above, it's becoming easier to end up in prison, and with more people that are having financial problems, people are being placed behind bars due to debts.
Joanne, I'm so sorry for what is happening concerning your husband, and that this is the type of story I'm all too often hearing, from lack of food and using the inmates for slave labor. They will bleed every cent possible to make sure the bottom line of profit is at the highest they can get it. If it means one scoop less of potato on each plate to raise it without the people dying but yet not well fed then they will do so.
I'm also tired of prison being the so called "help" for those with mental illness. These are still human beings already hurting, that we as a Nation can't find a more humane way to treat those with mental issues shows our failure as human beings that should have compassion to those less fortunate. Lets face it, how could one possibly get better in such a horrible place as prisons and why would one want to get better if it was to come to the full realization of where they were. It might be better to remain insane, because getting better would be living in a hell of a reality.
Sunday July 7, 2013, 2:21 pm
Private companies want to make money so if you dont want them to profit, stay out of jail.... Big corporates don't care how they profit, so dont let them cash in on crime............
Sunday July 7, 2013, 6:08 pm
Yes and they lock up non dangerous criminals mostly marijuana users. The second it's legal is the second drug lords lose their power. Marijuana and hemp could be making US the people billions in bath and body products alone! Why are we allowing the opposite to happen? Hemp = factories and endless jobs for Americans, local shops, clothes, paper instead of TREES!! Why are we allowing drug lords to make millions? WHY!??
Sunday July 7, 2013, 9:14 pm
Thank you all for some excellent comments. Similar to Tom Cat who has been a prison volunteer, I worked at our County Correctional Center. I was doing a Counseling Practicum and Internship. There were usually several of us Grad School slaves, because the County didn't have funds to pay for mental heath services. I had a lot of autonomy, and I did 1 to1 counseling. In addition to that, i got to design and run the Transition Groups once inmates completed about 12 separate classes where they learned many life skills, such as budgeting, anger management, parenting, reactive behavior, addiction and substance abuse, and more. Professionals from various disciplines taught the classes. Inmates had to work on a GED (most lacked a H.S. diploma). The inmates were housed with the work release population.. They had to get a job while in our program, and they had to pay rent. We were doing a multidisciplinary rehab program, and our inmates had to be nonviolent, and had to request permission from a judge to be in the program.
There was almost no funding for psychiatric evaluations, and many people needed them. If an inmate had symptoms of major metal illness, they were sent back to finish their time in jail. I respected the clients I worked with, and I had very little trouble with anyone.
There is a lot of overlap between crime, addiction, and mental illness. Just locking people up is pretty pointless, and people can receive further damage and abuse. I'm sure you can attest to that, Joanne. Your husband was being punished for a medical problem. Thank you Joanne, for sharing you and your husband's experience with us. It sounds like a nightmare. He has apparently suffered so much for this senseless system. My heart goes out to you and him. To these corporations more bodies = more money, and to hell with anything else. Like Dandelion says, these places are a hell.
It's really stupid to put pot smokers in jail, instead of taxing marijuana as a revenue source, and utilizing industrial hemp, as Mari suggests. I hadn't heard of there actually being quotas, Robert O!
Monday July 8, 2013, 8:00 am
Judy C, yes, many private prisons, and I believe CCA is one which does this, require a clause in ther contracts to guarantee them a 90% occupancy rate. So if, for example, a governor were to issue a blanket pardon for all marijuana possession less than an ounce, and a private prison had to release 100 people (just making up the numbers, I really have no idea what the numbers are like), the state would have to immediately transfer 100 people from public prisons to fill the private one to quota.