Mass Incarceration. The New Jim Crow. The War on Drugs. Thanks to Professor Michelle Alexander these phrases are now intimately linked in the minds of social justice advocates and faith leaders as we begin a critical struggle for fairness, justice and human rights in the criminal courts, police precincts and prisons of America. The Next Movement is convinced that America can do better, and that the majority of Americans would want us to do better, if they knew the truth. The truth ─ about systemic incarceration, structural second class status, completely uneven law enforcement practices, oppressive and selectively enforced laws ─ that is filling the prisons of America.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Prison Profiteering . . .
In a very informative article, Prison Privatization and the Efficiency Myth, Christopher Petrella digs into the federal Bureau of Prisons and the causes of the initial foray into private, for profit prison contracts.
Interestingly, it was our "friend" President Bill Clinton that initiated the first contracts for private prisons to manage federal inmates. While we are so often told that the competitive model of introducing for profit prisons (substitute schools if you'd like) will assure more efficient operations emerge, until those models are tested in the real world, it is a huge, and often inaccurate, assumption.
In our federal prison system, however, that was not the initial rationale at all. It seems that President Clinton introduced contract prisons into the federal system to accomplish two goals: 1) To allow for an increase in prison populations due to new laws he supported, so that he could show himself "tough on crime," and 2) He could show conservatives that he was reducing the size of the government payroll, since contractors do not show up as employees.
This article is well worth reading as it also shows how Clinton contributed to "The New Jim Crow" and mass incarceration with his support for the "Truth in Sentencing" bill and other get tough legislation.
Read the entire article by clicking here.