Well my friends. There has been a couple of things on my mind recently. These next couple of posts are going to be on what I see as two of the most oppressive and profitable slave trades that America has to offer it’s citizens and the world. In this post I will be focusing on the Private Detention Industry.
First lets look at the two largest private detention corporations in the United States. Corrections Corporation of America which is responsible for over 60 detention facilities spread across almost every state in the nation. CCA has annual revenues of over 1.7 Billion dollars in fiscal year 2011 with almost 18 million in lobbying expenses for the same year. The second largest is the GEO Group. As of 2010, GEO contracted with 13 states, the Federal Bureau of Prison, the U.S. Marshals Service, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In 2010, 66 percent of GEO’s $1.27 billion in revenue was from U.S. corrections contracts equaling $842 million. Of the $842 million in revenue, 47 percent came from corrections contracts with 11 states. Not to mention their overseas holdings through partnerships with other detention corporations. CCA, GEO Group and those that it partners with have interests in more than 60 countries many of whom give out prison time for speaking out against the government.
According to the Justice Policy Institute , the state and federal prison population increased 722 percent between 1970 and 2009. The prison population in the United States has also doubled in the last 15 years. Locking people up seems to be good business. Many of you may not realize that your phone calls to various private and public company’s such as Hitachi and Microsoft just to name a couple, for customer service or to purchase products are being answered by inmates. These inmate call centers are so profitable that the use of them has exploded bringing in 10s of Millions of dollars per year in revenue for the private prison industry and the companies they partner with.
Now you may be thinking that this helps offset the cost of incarcerating these individuals. Well you would be wrong these privateer prisons charge the states and municipalities $65 dollars a day or more to house their criminals as well as make the inmates work and not just in the afor mentioned call centers. Prisoners are also making cloths you buy in the store, Furniture you put in your office or home and a whole host of other everyday products. CCA and other private prison corporations have partnered with Unicor formally Federal Prison Industries Inc having prisoners making everything from signs to data management solutions. They then sell these products direct to the consumer through online stores or distribution centers.
At this point you may be thinking “But Oppressor you are the last one we would think would be railing against profit?” It is not the profit that I have a problem with. What I have a problem with is that these companies spend millions to lobby politicians to increase mandatory minimum sentencing laws for non violent offenders. They lobby these politians to do one thing and one thing only to strip ever more people of their freedom for non violent offenses. Giving these people ever increasing amounts of time in prison so that they can always have a steady source of slave labor and continue being able to legally pay them roughly the same amount of money as people in Cambodia make.
You may also be thinking who cares how does this affect us? Well it may not affect you directly. What this does is make it harder for small businesses and factories that employ people to compete in the market place. These private prisons can legally pay people 12 to 30 cents an hour. Then sell those products on the open market for a far cheaper prices than the small local business down the street. That same small business that employs the college student trying to work their way through school. This also hurts the private factories that produce goods and support small towns and law abiding families around this great country. Small private businesses and factories have to pay people a minimum of $7.25 per hour and in many states much more than that. These same businesses and factories have much higher operating costs because the States and Municipalities are not paying for their material, employee, and overhead costs under the guise of job training. Is this really how we want our industries run. Do we really want to say to a 17 year old kid that gets caught with a joint. Here is 2 years of slave labor enjoy. Have we really fallen so far as a society that we rail against one kind of slavery but embrace another just because it sounds nicer. Think about that the next time you hear a politician say he is going to be tough on crime. It is not just a talking point for them it is campaign contributions and kickbacks from prison industry lobbyists.
Until Next Time: Courage