The laws that run this country allow people to abuse other people they think are beneath them. Our prisons are a glaring example.
We know these laws need to change, but those in power don’t want it to change and not enough of us do more than shake our collective heads and go about our business. We’re too busy we tell ourselves.
Over the years men in power have changed the laws to increase their riches and that of the corporations that run the prisons, as well as the prisons that enforce them. While enforcing their laws they have no problem breaking any other law that gets in their way – and then lie about it.
To accomplish this, religion is often used to control the masses. This is nothing new. Now they are changing the law that used to prohibit preachers from politically swaying people from the pulpit making it seem like it is God’s own direct words that instructs people how to vote.
Trump thinks he is the greatest President America has ever had. This is one of the “great” change Jims he has prided himself on doing for the people ( for himself) ever since he became a new baby Christian. Did you fall for that? Now they will be able to continue to abuse the very people they are preaching to. Have we learned nothing through the centuries?
Just as slaveholders did for hundreds of years, beating, starving and raping their property, thinking that being owners allowed them to treat people in the most heinous ways, they continue. That mindset hasn’t changed from then until now.
What is it that makes a supposedly God fearing – oh that’s right. You rarely hear that phrase anymore, “God fearing” because its all about the love now, isn’t it? Do you think it’s okay to abuse people for profit?
Do you approve of what Trump’s wall stands for? He needs for Americans to have only contempt for Hispanics and only his wall can save us. Do you believe they should be imprisoned so corporations like CoreCivic and Geo Group can suck as much money as they can from their families on phone calls alone? Do you think they only wanted to come here for free handouts? And who gives a crap about their children? How many people believe that garbage? Wave your MAGA hat if you do.
Did you learn the lesson? Only think about yourself. Put a wall around yourself and harm anyone you think crosses the line. The golden rule we learned as children in Sunday School, “Jesus loves the little children. All the little children in the world,” unless they try to move into your neighborhood. The Golden Rule only applies to the supreme white race loving other supreme white people.
God is no longer to be feared. He only loves, loves, loves you. He is only concerned with ways to bless you. There is no fear of punishment. Why, because too many people think God lets them off the hook simply by asking for forgiveness. Its not that simple. You reap what you sow. The bible says so 13 times. You get back what you dish out. It comes back and you pay.
Today it brought about this rant. I read that a tired female cop, after a 14 hour shift, tried to get into another man’s apartment thinking it was hers and when he opened the door she repeatedly emptied her gun into him until he was dead! DEAD. It is no excuse she was tired, but it will be used. We don’t kill people when were tired, or you shouldn’t have that job. Her key didn’t fit. That should be clue #1. What does his family do now? His mother lost a son, just like every other black mother who has had their child killed by a cop.
I read about this hate every single day. I’ve had enough. People, ordinary red blooded, heart beating people who love living, who have hopes and dreams, teenagers, business owners, bbq grillers, children walking home from playing in a public pool, airbnb renters, shoppers, children walking home from school, people driving to work, people who think they are safely in their homes, people in the yards, parents who love their children, people in restaurants, university graduates, people stopping for coffee – The List Goes On – are accosted, arrested, beaten to the ground, choked, murdered by cops and white people using “stand your ground” as justification for murder.
We lock up the rest and pretend they are worth nothing. It doesn’t matter that many were forced to plead guilty. The ones who weren’t? It didn’t matter. 97% of everyone arrested end in a plea deal. Only those who can afford an attorney get out. Because bail can’t be paid people often spend years in jail waiting. Families are destroyed. Homes lost, jobs lost and being a parent is lost – but the corpoations make a killing. They can only get out by taking a plea, by admitting guilt. Public defenders tell you additional charges Will be added if you don’t plead guilty.
Jamie could see the Smith Unit long before they reached it. After the bus drove through the small town of Lamesa he saw it sitting way back off the road on flat, treeless, desert land. Ugly and boring. The prison was a series of large, connected concrete structures sprawled out in different directions. He was definitely a long way from the piney woods of East Texas. Guards were in the towers at the corners, watching everything below. He could see big guns sticking out. Jamie wondered if they had ever used them to shoot someone trying to escape. High metal fences inside even higher metal fences were topped with multiple rolls of razor wire. No, he decided. He doubted anyone could escape if they tried. The only set of buildings in sight, this monstrosity, was now his new home so he better get used to it. Jamie could feel his stomach churning. He was scared and didn’t want to show it. Trying to calm his nerves, he took deep breaths and slowly blew them out. He had never been inside a prison, but he knew it would not be good it he appeared nervous or scared. The men inside would be looking for any weakness they could take advantage of. He was told not to look them in the eye or draw attention to himself. If he looked confrontational he might become a target before he had a chance to figure out what was up from down. He saw two huge buildings with two floors of tiny windows. That must be where the prisoner cells were. He could see fields in the distance with people dressed in white, working in the rows of whatever they were growing. Men on horseback with dogs walked next to the horses. Jamie frowned. Is this what his life was going to be now? It was hot as blazes outside. Maybe it was better than being kept inside, but he knew when he got overheated it could bring on a seizure. He didn’t think they’d care much about that. He had a sickening feeling in the pit of his stomach. This was a different world, inside a world that most people would never see, or even think of. He was now going to be part of a part of a society that would always be considered outcasts, even when they get out. There were millions of people locked up in America; more than anywhere in the world.
It was a way of life for people like him, much more than whites, but it was still hard to believe there were so many, of either race who were locked up. They were being hid in plain sight if anyone bothered to look. They were able to provide jobs for people because someone had to look after them. This was his new address. He had traded his name for a number. Towns with prisons were only to happy to have it there. Of course, they were far enough away so no one had to look at it. They could pretend it wasn’t there, unless it was putting food on their table. Pains were taken to keep people from knowing what really went on inside, no matter how brutal it was. He didn’t really know himself yet how bad it could get. All he heard were stories. He learned a lot from talking to other dudes at the jail who had been locked up before. Would his time be any better? Why would anyone care about people who were locked up? They were criminals. They were bad people. It didn’t matter what kind of criminal. Murderer, drug addict or bad check writer, they were all treated the same. He was about to find that out for himself. Jamie told himself he didn’t care. He could make it, as long as he had Morgan and the kids, he didn’t need anything else. Just thinking about it made his heart hurt. All he knew, if he had been inside before, he wouldn’t do anything that would send him back here again. He was headed into this prison and there was nothing he could do about it. He no longer had any control over his life, or anything in it. He better get used to it because it would be a long time before he got it back. Do what you’re told, when you’d told to do it. Eat what you’re given you to eat, no matter how bad it is. Sleep when you’re told. Wake when you’re told, even if it is breakfast in the middle of the night. Shower when you’re told. Crap at the right time, before the toilets automatically flush. Wear the same prison uniform every day. There was no decision he could make on his own for the next seventeen years. Jamie knew he had to worry about other inmates as much as he needed to worth about what the guards could do to him. There were different laws inside, enforced with a different set of rules. His rights as a human being were taken way. There was supposed to be prisoner’s rights, that maybe looked good on paper, but enforcing them was another matter. This would be a hard transition. He wanted to scream at the driver, “Pull over. Let me off. This is a terrible mistake. I’m not supposed to be here,” but he didn’t. He kept his mouth shut. It would be a bad way to start day one. None of the dudes he started with on this ride were still on the bus. One by one they had been dropped at other prisons and new faces came onboard. Five men got off with him at Smith Unit. It was hot as hell when Jamie stepped down to the pavement. They were lined up in front of the bus. In spite of the heat, it felt good to stand and stretch his legs. Sitting so long made his knees swell. The heat coming through the bottom of his slip-on tennis shoes would probably fry up some bacon and eggs. When Jamie was hungry he tortured himself thinking about the different food he knew he couldn’t have, and wouldn’t have again for a very long time. He really was hungry, though. There were no clouds in the sky and the sun beating down was brutal. He wanted to shield his eyes but didn’t want to raise his hand to his face. It might look like an aggressive move. Three guards had walked up to the bus and two of them had a mean looking German Shepard at their side. He was not about to test them. The third guard stood in front of them and carried a clip board. The first name called out was “James Cummings?” “That’s me,” he answered back. “When I speak, you say, yes Sir.” The guard instructed. “Yes Sir,” Jamie repeated back. He called off the rest names and said, “Follow the yellow line into the building. Stop at the desk on the right for instructions.” The guard backed away and they filed into the building. The guard standing at the desk handed each of them a clean set of whites along with a worn, white towel wrapped around a tiny bar of soap. Jamie looked down at it. This was all he had. Everything else was gone. He didn’t know when, or if his property from the jail would be sent to him. He wasn’t counting on it. Others told him sometimes things had a way of getting lost when you were sent someplace. They were taken into a room and told to get naked for a strip search. No privacy, of course. If anyone was embarrassed, too bad. “Open your mouth,” he was told. “Stick your tongue out, then lift it up and down so I can see under your tongue and the roof of your mouth.” “Put your hands behind your head,” while they patted him down and checked behind his ears and arm pits. “Lift your balls,” was the next order, and Jamie listened. The guard then turned him around while he put on latex gloves to do a cavity search from behind. It wasn’t his first strip search. He knew there would be many more so he better get used to it. The men were then taken to the shower, which was good because he he knew how much he stunk from the bus trip. They were naked as they followed orders to walk down the hall. He felt eyes sizing him up as they walked toward the showers. They entered one big room with a shower nozzle every three feet. The mold on the floor and walls made him want to back out of the room before he touched anything. There were a few men already in there, standing under the water, going to town on themselves as if they were in a room by themselves. They didn’t seem to mind an audience. He had five minutes to wash. As filthy as he was, it was barely enough time. He would have enjoyed standing there for awhile letting the water pour over his body, but he was no longer allowed to decide how long his shower would be. They shut the water off whether you were done or not. When he tried to put on the clothes he was given, he realized they gave him a white shirt and pants that were way too small. Maybe it was done on purpose to see if he would complain. The pants had an elastic waist and drawstring but he could barely stretch the elastic enough to pull them up. He was going to split the seams for sure. He was led to the first tier of a cell block in medium security. The cells lined the interior wall. There was a walkway around the second tier with men standing outside their cells, leaning over the railing looking to see who the new guy was. Cat calls and rude comments were shouted down at him. He ignored them. He was put in a cell with another person sitting on the bottom bunk. They didn’t say anything to each other. There was plenty of time for that later.
After a couple weeks he wondered if he was ever going to get his stuff from the jail. He didn’t know what they did with the clothes and shoes he had on when he was arrested. That stuff didn’t matter so much, but there was also papers he didn’t want to lose. Maybe Morgan had them. There was also her letters to him and his pictures. She sent him pictures of herself and the kids and little Jamie’s pictures this first year. She also sent him pictures of his family. Now he had nothing. So many times Jamie had laid the pictures out on his bunk and stared at each one, trying to memorize it. His mom and brother came to see him in the beginning and then they stopped. He didn’t understand why. All he had were their pictures and now they were most likely gone. He missed them. He figured it was his fault his mom wouldn’t answer his letters. He gave her a hard time growing up. And the letters? Morgan’s letters were his lifeline. He reread them so many times. It was like she was talking to him. He didn’t feel lonely when he read them. Now he did. Now he had nothing. A little more of him was chipped away every day.
Jamie never knew who his dad was, at least not for sure. There was never a man who was active in his life. His mama didn’t talk to him about it. The other kids in the family each had fathers and he was jealous sometimes when they went off to spend the weekend with their other family and he had to stay home. He got one letter at the prison from a man who said he was his father. Just one and then he never heard from him again. If he was his father, how come this was the first time he was hearing about it? Did this man write to his mom but never ask about him? Or he did ask about him but his mom never told him. What was the truth? He told Jamie he just got out of prison. For what? Was he in since he was born? How come his mama didn’t write to tell him now that she gave his address to this man? In this letter he asked Jamie to give him a chance to be a dad. He was twenty- five so it was a little late to be a dad. Still, Jamie told him it was okay and asked one thing from him; to give the love to his grandson that he never gave to him. Jamie never heard from him again. He gained and lost a father in one letter. That was fast. Was this man really his father? Did it matter at this point? He was over not having a dad. He knew the most important thing now was that his son knew he had a dad. His son would grow up knowing his father was in prison. He didn’t like it that and hurt real bad. Jamie knew he wouldn’t be there for all the growing up years. He wouldn’t be able to teach him anything. He couldn’t watch him play sports. He couldn’t help him with school or share holidays. So in a way he was absent just like whoever his own father was. Maybe his dad loved him but couldn’t find a way to tell him because he was ashamed to tell him. Not knowing was worse because he thought his dad didn’t love him. But since he will never know the truth, it was too late to wonder what it would be. Jamie did know one thing for sure. He loved his son. He wanted the best for him. He wanted him to grow up to be a good man. He had to trust that Morgan would raise him right and keep him safe. When he got out, Jamie would make it up to him as best he could.
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
This is an article I have referenced many times. If you think you understand why we house millions of prisoners you need to thoroughly read this and find out exactly what companies are profiting from our full prisons.
Reading so many articles recently about the many politicians jumping on the bandwagon and saying we need to release inmates because it is wrong what we have done – but these politicians accept campaign contributions from these very prison corporations leads me wonder if it is mostly all BS. An election is coming. They have to appear to support what the people want, but after the election how much will really happen? These corporations are not going to want to give up their profit. Besides, they have contracts with the government to keep the prisons full – binding legal contracts.
It was said it was beneficial to get rid of the black man because if there were too few to revolt then they would be saved from being caught and tortured – so it was for their own good to be removed – unable to earn a living in a trade a white man would enjoy. The more I learn, the more ashamed of my race I become, because it is these men who destroyed lives. This deep-rooted racism eats away their decency. Their objective is to keep the black man down – remove him from caring for his family. Continue slavery in the prisons. How dare the black man assume they are on the same level of intelligence as the white man! So sad that there are still vast numbers of men who still think the same way
This goes along with several recent posts about slavery and the 13th amendment. People need to realize slavery is not a dead issue in America. People just choose to look the other way so they can pretend this is a “Christian” nation. Angola Prison touts itself as a Christian prison with chapels all over the grounds and inmates carrying bibles so they show they comply.