Saturday, April 13, 2013

Misconceptions About Prisons

I am always amazed at people’s misconceptions concerning rumors. Just start rumors about something, (it doesn’t have to be the whole truth and nothing but…) and before long it winds up a part of the collective conscience. Throw out something on any topic and there will be a response that has been around for ages even though such response will espouse very little accuracy. Take prisons for instance, people want to look at the incarcerated as parasites feeding off the backs of the tax payer. The rhetoric will go like this… “Don’t they have it made, free meals, free medical, free housing all made possible with the hard earned cash from our pockets." Too many people are ignorant to the fact that today’s industrial world is based on profits and greed has run amuck trying to generate new ideas on how to squeeze profits from a stone.
 Privatization helps those who think mainly in numbers ($$$ numbers) and prisons are the latest to go on the auction block. Hey, why not privatize jails, the individuals behind bars have the potential to bring in cash via labor and they don’t even have to be compensated. Indeed, they are in jail anyway, why not lease their labor out and make tons of moola without too much investment and overhead. Sure we have to provide living quarters and food but we can make that as austere and bleak as possible providing the minimum, they don’t deserve more; after all they have committed crimes. Read the article and watch the heartbreaking video of a judge who gave out maximum sentences to young kids for petty offenses, in order to get kickbacks from friends who have invested in such prisons. It will make your heart ache that is if you still have some of your human compassion intact, after the many heartless attempts by the conservatives to make life hell for the 47% , they deem unworthy. thinkingblue
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Profiting from another person's misery has been around, since the beginning of civilizations. But isn't it about time, we stop this practice and start respecting one another?
Alas, It will never happen! Never, as long as people can rationalize that it's nothing but Business as Usual. I don't have much hope for our human race, not at the moment when I see how those who represent and lead us, work against benevolence, respect and generosity because they believe GREED is the only master we should worship.
... TOO BAD. Below another sad tale of an injustice perpetrated in the name of GREED. thinkingblue


The Prison Industry in the United States: 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.
The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?
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.”
According to the Left Business Observer, the federal prison industry produces 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents, bags, and canteens. Along with war supplies, prison workers supply 98% of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93% of paints and paintbrushes; 92% of stove assembly; 46% of body armor; 36% of home appliances; 30% of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21% of office furniture. Airplane parts, medical supplies, and much more: prisoners are even raising seeing-eye dogs for blind people.
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Profiting from another person's misery has been around, since the beginning of civilizations. But isn't it about time, we stop this practice and start respecting one another? It will never happen! Never, as long as people can rationalize that it's nothing but Business as Usual. I don't have much hope for our human race, not at the moment when I see how those who represent and lead us, work... TOO SAD, TOO BAD. Below another sad tale of a long injustice perpetrated in the name of GREED. thinkingblue

Private prisons and the profit motive

, @youngcollier
On Tuesday, the ACLU of Ohio released a timeline tracing the decline of the country’s first privately- owned prison. Ohio Governor John Kasich first proposed privatizing prisons in March of 2011 as a way to climb out of an $8 billion budget deficit. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction boasted $3 million in savings “for Ohio taxpayers compared to similar state facilities.” However, since being purchased for $72.7 million from the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the largest private prison corporation in the United States, the prison has racked up countless violations.

In an audit last October, the CCA was slapped with 47 violations including having smaller-than-state standard housing units: “all housing units prove less than the requirement of 25 feet of unencumbered space per occupant.” Later that same year, the CCA failed yet another inspection. And now, according to Think Progress, the CCA’s Lake Erie prison “is reportedly overcrowded at 130% capacity, with single-person cells holding 3 inmates each, according to internal documents obtained by the ACLU.” Since the U.S. leads the world in incarcerations with 2.2 million Americans behind bars, it is no surprise that state budgets are being overwhelmed by prison costs. But instead of trying to legislate prison reform, Gov. Kasich decided to delegate responsibility to private systems that have an incentive to find ways to keep profits up.

The CCA is not shy about its goals, stating in the company’s 2010 Annual Report: “We believe we have been successful in increasing the number of residents in our care and continue to pursue a number of initiatives intended to further increase our occupancy and revenue.” DID THEY REALLY SAY THAT?

The ACLU’s report on the failings of CCA’s Lake Erie Prison highlights the need for an overhaul in the prison system, not privatization of it. And there are ways. Last month, Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Republican, and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, a Democrat, introduced the Justice Safety Valve Act, a bill that would begin to alleviate the problem of overcrowded prisons by altering mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenses.
MORE HERE: http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/04/12/private-prisons-and-the-profit-motive/#_=1365850361458&align=right&id=twitter-widget-2&lang=en&screen_name=allinwithchris&show_count=false&show_screen_name=true&size=m
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Has Slavery Really Ended: A sad tale regarding a slave auction.

Slave Auction, 1850
In early March 1859 an enormous slave action took place at the Race Course three miles outside Savannah, Georgia. Four hundred thirty-six slaves were to be put on the auction block including men, women, children and infants. Word of the sale had spread through the South for weeks, drawing potential buyers from North and South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana. All of Savannah's available hotel rooms and any other lodging spaces were quickly appropriated by the influx of visitors. In the days running up to the auction, daily excursions were made from the city to the Race Course to inspect, evaluate and determine an appropriate bid for the human merchandise on display.

The sale's magnitude was the result of the break-up of an old family estate that included two plantations. The majority of the slaves had never been sold before. Most had spent their entire lives on one of the two plantations included in the sale. The rules of the auction stipulated that the slaves would be sold as "families" - defined as a husband and wife and any offspring. However, there was no guarantee that this rule would be adhered to in all cases.

The sale gained such renown that it attracted the attention of Horace Greeley, Editor of the New York Tribune, one of America's most influential newspapers at the time. Greeley was an abolitionist and staunchly opposed to slavery. He sent a reporter to cover the auction in order to reveal to his readers the barbarity inherent in one human being's ability to own and sell another.

Preparation...

"The slaves remained at the race-course, some of them for more than a week and all of them for four days before the sale. They were brought in thus early that buyers who desired to inspect them might enjoy that privilege, although none of them were sold at private sale. For these preliminary days their shed was constantly visited by speculators. The negroes were examined with as little consideration as if they had been brutes indeed; the buyers pulling their mouths open to see their teeth, pinching their limbs to find how muscular they were, walking them up and down to detect any signs of lameness, making them stoop and bend in different ways that they might be certain there was no concealed rupture or wound; and in addition to all this treatment, asking them scores of questions relative to their qualifications and accomplishments.

All these humiliations were submitted to without a murmur and in some instances with good-natured cheerfulness - where the slave liked the appearance of the proposed buyer, and fancied that he might prove a kind 'mas'r.'

The following curiously sad scene is the type of a score of others that were there enacted:

'Elisha,' chattel No. 5 in the catalogue, had taken a fancy to a benevolent looking middle-aged gentleman, who was inspecting the stock, and thus used his powers of persuasion to induce the benevolent man to purchase him, with his wife, boy and girl, Molly, Israel and Sevanda, chattels Nos. 6, 7 and 8. The earnestness with which the poor fellow pressed his suit, knowing, as he did, that perhaps the happiness of his whole life depended on his success, was interesting, and the arguments he used were most pathetic. He made no appeal to the feelings of the buyer; he rested no hope on his charity and kindness, but only strove to show how well worth his dollars were the bone and blood he was entreating him to buy.

'Look at me, Mas'r; am prime rice planter; sho' you won't find a better man den me; no better on de whole plantation; not a bit old yet; do mo' work den ever; do carpenter work, too, little; better buy me, Mas'r; I'se be good sarvant, Mas'r. Molly, too, my wife, Sa, fus rate rice hand; mos as good as me. Stan' out yer, Molly, and let the gen'lm'n see.'

Molly advances, with her hands crossed on her bosom, and makes a quick short curtsy, and stands mute, looking appealingly in the benevolent man's face. But Elisha talks all the faster.

'Show mas'r yer arm Molly - good arm dat mas'r - she do a heap of work mo' with dat arm yet. Let good mas'r see yer teeth Molly - see dat mas'r, teeth all reg'lar, all good - she'm young gal yet. Come out yer Israel, walk aroun' an' let the gen'lm'n see how spry you be.'

Then, pointing to the three-year-old girl who stood with her chubby hand to her mouth, holding on to her mother's dress, and uncertain what to make of the strange scene.

'Little Vardy's on'y a chile yet; make prime gal by-and-by. Better buy us mas'r, we'm fus' rate bargain" - and so on. But the benevolent gentleman found where he could drive a closer bargain, and so bought somebody else..."

The Sale...

"The buyers, who were present to the number of about two hundred, clustered around the platform; while the Negroes, who were not likely to be immediately wanted, gathered into sad groups in the background to watch the progress of the selling in which they were so sorrowfully interested. The wind howled outside, and through the open side of the building the driving rain came pouring in; the bar down stairs ceased for a short time its brisk trade; the buyers lit fresh cigars, got ready their catalogues and pencils, and the first lot of human chattels are led upon the stand, not by a white man, but by a sleek mulatto, himself a slave, and who seems to regard the selling of his brethren, in which he so glibly assists, as a capital joke. It had been announced that the Negroes would be sold in "families," that is to say; a man would not be parted from his wife, or a mother from a very young child. There is perhaps as much policy as humanity in this arrangement, for thereby many aged and unserviceable people are disposed of, who otherwise would not find a ready sale...

...The expression on the faces of all who stepped on the block was always the same, and told of more anguish than it is in the power of words to express. Blighted homes, crushed hopes and broken hearts was (sic) the sad story to be read in all the anxious faces. Some of them regarded the sale with perfect indifference, never making a motion save to turn from one side to the other at the word of the dapper Mr. Bryan, that all the crowd might have a fair view of their proportions, and then, when the sale was accomplished, stepping down from the block without caring to cast even a look at the buyer, who now held all their happiness in his hands. Others, again, strained their eyes with eager glances from one buyer to another as the bidding went on, trying with earnest attention to follow the rapid voice of the auctioneer. Sometimes, two persons only would be bidding for the same chattel, all the others having resigned the contest, and then the poor creature on the block, conceiving an instantaneous preference for one of the buyers over the other, would regard the rivalry with the intensest (sic) interest, the expression of his face changing with every bid, settling into a half smile of joy if the favorite buyer persevered unto the end and secured the property, and settling down into a look of hopeless despair if the other won the victory... MORE HERE: http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/slaveauction.htm

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