This issue is focused on the progress with my book, music and music videos that have been created since the last issue went out. I’ve had much enjoyment doing this and I hope you take the time to listen, watch and read. It will only be through your support that this will be successful when I am done. Go to the link at the bottom to pull up the actual newsletter and also pull up any back issues. Have a wonderful day!
Reach For The Stars
If You Land On The Moon Look How Far You’ve Gone!
Today’s issue of ITFO News is dedicated to what is happening behind the scenes of my writing – music and the book. 2018 started out with a bang. Everything that all needed to be done at the same time landed on my lap. I enjoy being busy, but what I really need are three sets of hands (or someone who wants to work for free doing the many things that have to be done)
There is so much to be done between writing blog posts and keeping up social media. I begin spinning plates when I wake and keep going until I fall off my chair around 5 AM.
I’ve been writing and recording music for the book I’ve been writing for 3 years. It’s been rewritten, rearranged, chapters deleted and added to: Inside The
This article was written two years ago so the numbers are higher than what is written here. There are more people incarcerated. Last year it was 2.3 million. I don’t know what it is now. But the situations are the same or worse. It is easy to see what has happened to the citizens of our country because of how every little thing included jaywalking will put you on the fast lane to jail, and if you are black, you can count on it. What has happened to entice big business to use the slave labor in prisons in one reason why the government wants to keep it that way. The contracts that were signed promising to keep the prisons full is why the joke was pulled on the people when they said they were releasing 600 federal inmates. They couldn’t touch the ones in state prisons. Instead of 600 prisoners being released it was actually only 20% of American prisoners that left prison and most of them were on their way out anyway. The rest were on house arrest or were immigrants coming across the border. But the media made it sound sooo good – 6000 people. Except that it was a scam to make you think they were doing something about it. They can’t and they won’t. Too many corporations use the slave labor inside the prisons. Read on . . .
Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?
Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.
There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, “no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens.”
The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world’s prison population, but only 5% of the world’s people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million. Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, according to reports.
What has happened over the last 10 years? Why are there so many prisoners?
“The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners’ work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself,” says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being “an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps.”
The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street. “This multimillion-dollar industry has its own trade exhibitions, conventions, websites, and mail-order/Internet catalogs. It also has direct advertising campaigns, architecture companies, construction companies, investment houses on Wall Street, plumbing supply companies, food supply companies, armed security, and padded cells in a large variety of colors.”
CRIME GOES DOWN, JAIL POPULATION GOES UP
According to reports by human rights organizations, these are the factors that increase the profit potential for those who invest in the prison industry complex:
. Jailing persons convicted of non-violent crimes, and long prison sentences for possession of microscopic quantities of illegal drugs. Federal law stipulates five years’ imprisonment without possibility of parole for possession of 5 grams of crack or 3.5 ounces of heroin, and 10 years for possession of less than 2 ounces of rock-cocaine or crack. A sentence of 5 years for cocaine powder requires possession of 500 grams – 100 times more than the quantity of rock cocaine for the same sentence. Most of those who use cocaine powder are white, middle-class or rich people, while mostly Blacks and Latinos use rock cocaine. In Texas, a person may be sentenced for up to two years’ imprisonment for possessing 4 ounces of marijuana. Here in New York, the 1973 Nelson Rockefeller anti-drug law provides for a mandatory prison sentence of 15 years to life for possession of 4 ounces of any illegal drug.
. The passage in 13 states of the “three strikes” laws (life in prison after being convicted of three felonies), made it necessary to build 20 new federal prisons. One of the most disturbing cases resulting from this measure was that of a prisoner who for stealing a car and two bicycles received three 25-year sentences.
. Longer sentences.
. The passage of laws that require minimum sentencing, without regard for circumstances.
. A large expansion of work by prisoners creating profits that motivate the incarceration of more people for longer periods of time.
. More punishment of prisoners, so as to lengthen their sentences.
HISTORY OF PRISON LABOR IN THE UNITED STATES
Prison labor has its roots in slavery. After the 1861-1865 Civil War, a system of “hiring out prisoners” was introduced in order to continue the slavery tradition. Freed slaves were charged with not carrying out their sharecropping commitments (cultivating someone else’s land in exchange for part of the harvest) or petty thievery – which were almost never proven – and were then “hired out” for cotton picking, working in mines and building railroads. From 1870 until 1910 in the state of Georgia, 88% of hired-out convicts were Black. In Alabama, 93% of “hired-out” miners were Black. In Mississippi, a huge prison farm similar to the old slave plantations replaced the system of hiring out convicts. The notorious Parchman plantation existed until 1972.
During the post-Civil War period, Jim Crow racial segregation laws were imposed on every state, with legal segregation in schools, housing, marriages and many other aspects of daily life. “Today, a new set of markedly racist laws is imposing slave labor and sweatshops on the criminal justice system, now known as the prison industry complex,” comments the Left Business Observer.
Who is investing?
At least 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations that mount their operations inside state prisons. The list of such companies contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generation by prison labor. Just between 1980 and 1994, profits went up from $392 million to $1.31 billion. Inmates in state penitentiaries generally receive the minimum wage for their work, but not all; in Colorado, they get about $2 per hour, well under the minimum.
And in privately-run prisons, they receive as little as 17 cents per hour for a maximum of six hours a day, the equivalent of $20 per month. The highest-paying private prison is CCA in Tennessee, where prisoners receive 50 cents per hour for what they call “highly skilled positions.” At those rates, it is no surprise that inmates find the pay in federal prisons to be very generous. There, they can earn $1.25 an hour and work eight hours a day, and sometimes overtime. They can send home $200-$300 per month.
Thanks to prison labor, the United States is once again an attractive location for investment in work that was designed for Third World labor markets. A company that operated a maquiladora (assembly plant in Mexico near the border) closed down its operations there and relocated to San Quentin State Prison in California. In Texas, a factory fired its 150 workers and contracted the services of prisoner-workers from the private Lockhart Texas prison, where circuit boards are assembled for companies like IBM and Compaq.
[Former] Oregon State Representative Kevin Mannix recently urged Nike to cut its production in Indonesia and bring it to his state, telling the shoe manufacturer that “there won’t be any transportation costs; we’re offering you competitive prison labor (here).”
The prison privatization boom began in the 1980s, under the governments of Ronald Reagan and Bush Sr., but reached its height in 1990 under William Clinton, when Wall Street stocks were selling like hotcakes. Clinton’s program for cutting the federal workforce resulted in the Justice Departments contracting of private prison corporations for the incarceration of undocumented workers and high-security inmates.
Private prisons are the biggest business in the prison industry complex. About 18 corporations guard 10,000 prisoners in 27 states. The two largest are Correctional Corporation of America (CCA) and Wackenhut, which together control 75%. Private prisons receive a guaranteed amount of money for each prisoner, independent of what it costs to maintain each one. According to Russell Boraas, a private prison administrator in Virginia, “the secret to low operating costs is having a minimal number of guards for the maximum number of prisoners.” The CCA has an ultra-modern prison in Lawrenceville, Virginia, where five guards on dayshift and two at night watch over 750 prisoners. In these prisons, inmates may get their sentences reduced for “good behavior,” but for any infraction, they get 30 days added – which means more profits for CCA. According to a study of New Mexico prisons, it was found that CCA inmates lost “good behavior time” at a rate eight times higher than those in state prisons.
IMPORTING AND EXPORTING INMATES
Profits are so good that now there is a new business: importing inmates with long sentences, meaning the worst criminals. When a federal judge ruled that overcrowding in Texas prisons was cruel and unusual punishment, the CCA signed contracts with sheriffs in poor counties to build and run new jails and share the profits. According to a December 1998 Atlantic Monthly magazine article, this program was backed by investors from Merrill-Lynch, Shearson-Lehman, American Express and Allstate, and the operation was scattered all over rural Texas. That state’s governor, Ann Richards, followed the example of Mario Cuomo in New York and built so many state prisons that the market became flooded, cutting into private prison profits.
After a law signed by Clinton in 1996 – ending court supervision and decisions – caused overcrowding and violent, unsafe conditions in federal prisons, private prison corporations in Texas began to contact other states whose prisons were overcrowded, offering “rent-a-cell” services in the CCA prisons located in small towns in Texas. The commission for a rent-a-cell salesman is $2.50 to $5.50 per day per bed. The county gets $1.50 for each prisoner.
( I believe since then, there were people who tried to put a stop to this but I don’t know the outcome.)
Ninety-seven percent of 125,000 federal inmates have been convicted of non-violent crimes. It is believed that more than half of the 623,000 inmates in municipal or county jails are innocent of the crimes they are accused of. Of these, the majority are awaiting trial. Two-thirds of the one million state prisoners have committed non-violent offenses. Sixteen percent of the country’s 2 million prisoners suffer from mental illness.
The original source of this article is El Diario-La Prensa, New York and Global Research
For those that might have missed it, this is the section of his radio show that is just his interview with me. Please share this with your own people to help me get what I am doing off the ground and also help David with enhancing his ratings with his show. Email email@example.com to sign up for my newly launched monthly newsletter, which will cover many other aspects of our justice system. Most of all – Thank you for listening!
One of the most fascinating interviews we have ever done on the show, Sonni Quick tells a story about Jamie Cummings who has epilepsy and his harsh treatment in prison. We also discuss about what is wrong with the US prison system and how it affects everyone, even when they use guards in schools. The interview ends with one powerful message on what needs to be changed in the prison system and who, possible, can help bring those changes.
Hi There! I have been asking people for addresses for my mailing list for quite awhile now, but this is the first time I have sent anything out. I decided to also make this a blog post for those not only the mailing list yet. a My goal is to create a monthly newsletter. Nothing overly long and probably only once a month, so you will not get a bunch of emails in your inbox. I’ve been testing different newsletter templates to find one that I like.
There are a few things going on I wanted to tell you about. If you visit my blog regularly you may already know of some of this, but I know how it is – if you are a blogger – it is hard to get back to all the blogs you like because you are busy writing one yourself.
I did an internet radio show on the David Shape Show which was broadcast on April 4th. Because it is on the internet it can be listened to at any time. There are other shows you can tap into on his blog or Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/davidsnapeshow
The interview we did was is about the US prison system. Most of you know I write about Jamie Cummings, the father of one of my grandsons. During the interview we talked about how the prisons take care of inmates with medical conditions, and the care they don’t get that is often urgently needed. His main issue is with epilepsy, but he was recently diagnosed with a problem with his heart at a hospital, Pericarditis, yet the prison doctor told him there was nothing wrong with him and wouldn’t provide the medication the cardiologist said he needed. So many inmates have chronic conditions, often caused by the lack of nutrition in their diet that effects them over time, especially the elderly. If the prisons provided adequate care of medical problems it would cut to deeply into their profit margin. The prison system doesn’t care about medical care for the inmates.
When you go to the radio show it is a little over two hours. It’s a great show with music, and interview with a musician releasing new music. David talks about different topics in the news. My interview starts about one hour and twenty minutes into the show.
We also talked about the youth in juvenile detention and how children are treated in schools, using cops for discipline instead of detention; putting handcuffs on them and seating them in the rear seat of a patrol car. This action sucks kids into the school to prison pipeline that primes the next generation of prisoners. Their education has been disturbed and it ruins their chances of higher education. This has far reaching effects on the rest of their lives. It affects foster children the most. Over 70% of those incarcerated come from the foster system earlier in life.
We also talked about the book I’m writing about Jamie’s life, “Inside The Forbidden Outside”. You can find chapters on the blog at http://mynameisjamie.net. You can also find them on Jamie’s Facebook page athttp://facebook.com/jamielifeinprison. The book is more than half done and the editing process has begun. I’ve talked with several publishers and have gotten good feedback from them. I’ve started with a content editor whose job is to go over story content and make sure it is pulled together right and makes sense. I’ve had great help from a few bloggers who have gone over grammar and punctuation. I found you can’t edit your own work because the eye skips over errors. I could also spend all day editing one chapter and never get anything else written. I’ve been excited about the progress I’ve made so far.. It’s real now, not just an idea I’m working on.
David and I also discussed the piano music I’m writing for the book which hopefully will be included inside the back cover of the book. It depends on if it is too cost prohibitive or if I have to initially get too many books printed up front instead of them being printed as they are ordered. At the end of the show he played one of my more recent pieces with the title “From the Bottom of My Heart.” All of the pieces can be heard athttp://soundcloud.com/sonni-quick.
This is the first of hopefully more media I will be doing over time to advertise the book. I hope will lead to being able to lecture on the prison industry. When Jamie is finally released he will be able to join me. He wants to work with the youth using his life as an example, in hopes of being able to turn their lives around before they, too, end up in the system. One in three black males end up incarcerated. Contrary to racist belief it is not because crime is in their genes. It is because of the government pushing the War of Drugs on to the black man’s shoulders, making you believe through the media that they are dangerous.
Kids don’t understand the ramifications of their choices until it’s too late. When someone has been incarcerated for a long time, and Jamie has been locked up for 14 years counting time in juvenile detention. Unfortunately, the four years in juvy was not because he committed a crime. He should not have been locked up. The same thing happens to more black kids than any other race, but it was planned to be that way, as John Erlichman, one of Nixon’s staff explained after he got out of prison. The war on Drugs was meant to target pot which was classified as one of the most dangerous drugs, like heroin, and it was meant to target blacks and the media was to portray them as dangerous heroin addicts people were supposed to fear. It worked. You need only look at our prison system and percentages of who is locked up.. It is time now to undo the damage we have done to people’s lives, and it is time to change the brainwashing the people were put to through to increase the racism going on. It is a tough thing to undo.
This story needs to be shared. I am asking for you to please share this on your own social media. The success of my hard work will be determined by how well this info gets pushed through sites on the web. Share the web interview. When you pull it up there will be links. The only way to have a successful book is if the people who know about it – share it – and earlier I start, the better it will be. Follow the blog, follow facebook.
This brings so much encouragement to Jamie as he sits in his cell 23-24 hours a day, working his way up through the levels once again. He has received letters from some of you. Knowing someone cares enough to write matters more than you know. Thank you for tuning in to the show. Let me know what you think.
IN THE FUTURE
In later newsletters I will also be talking about other inmates I write to who would like to have their stories told. Think of them as people, not just as felons. Some are guilty, and some are not. Even those who are guilty, I believe deserve a second change when they are actively trying hard to have a better life. None of us are completely guilt free. We should all know by now that our prisons have been filled by anyone and everyone our justice system could fill them with. Unfortunately most of them have been the black population. If the ratio were reversed and there were more whites than blacks it would have never happened. It’s been proven that crimes are not separated by race. That is what the war of Drugs wanted to make you believe. If the prisons housed only the ones that needed to be kept from society, and those who paid a reasonable price for a crime they committed, half the inmates that deserved it would be home with their families.
There are other inmates, or x-felons who have written books, or who blogs. Also parents and spouses have helped tell their stories. I want to share other books that have been written to help promote their hard work as well.
I read something today on a website written by an attorney. I was researching the legalities of writing someone’s life story. She mentioned inmates in particular and said, I’m paraphrasing, “You know you can’t trust felons to tell you the truth.” I was insulted by that, because she was lumping all inmates into one giant ball like their makeup of being liars comes with the package of being incarcerated. It took some self control not to write to her. She obviously thinks the worst of anyone locked up and being an attorney, she should know it doesn’t take a felon to be a liar. The ones I have gotten to know had nothing to gain by lying. They needed someone to listen because people like this attorney always assumes they are lying.
If someone has shared this with you and you would like to get future newsletters please send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org until I learn how to add that to final template. I am learning as I go. You can also fill out the form below.