THIS BLOG is NOW RETIRED

I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

David Rovics: We Are Everywhere

To my fellow activists now struggling through life - let this be a reminder that you are not alone and that we desperately need you here. All the injustice, grief, war, and human suffering calls for us to stay and do everything we can about it - you can't help us anymore when you're gone. Don't give up the fight - your last shred of hope may just keep someone else alive, too.
BLOG POSTS

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Billions Behind Bars: Resist ALEC.

Came across this editorial today that serves as a good reason to promote the ALEC Resistance in Scottsdale, November 29-December 3, 2011. Neither the National ACLU nor CNBC endorse (or even know about, as far as I can tell) this planned week of action...

--------Catch this CNBC special on October 18-------

For-Profit Prisons: A Barrier to Serious Criminal Justice Reform

CNBC.com
Wednesday, 12 Oct 2011 | 2:26 PM ET
By: David Shapiro
Staff Attorney, ACLU National Prison Project


The imprisonment of human beings at record levels is both a moral failure and an economic one — especially at a time when state governments confront enormous fiscal crises caused largely by bloated and unnecessary prison spending. But mass incarceration provides a gigantic windfall for one special interest group: the private prison industry. As current incarceration levels harm the nation as a whole, for-profit prisons obtain taxpayer dollars in ever greater amounts. Private prison executives, meanwhile, bring in multi-million dollar compensation packages.

Today, the United States incarcerates 2.3 million individuals — more people, both per capita and in absolute terms, than any other nation in the world including Russia, China and Iran. The current incarceration rate deprives record numbers of individuals of their liberty, disproportionately affects people of color and has at best a minimal effect on public safety. The crippling cost of imprisoning more and more Americans — non-violent offenders in the majority of cases — saddles governments with escalating debt.

This social ill — mass incarceration — is the private prison industry’s bread and butter. Private prison companies openly admit that their profits depend on locking up more people. For example, in a 2010 annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the largest private prison company stated: “The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by ... leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices ...”

As incarceration rates skyrocket, the private prison industry expands at exponential rates. The number of inmates in private prisons increased by roughly 1600 percent between 1990 and 2009. In 2010, the two largest private prison companies alone took in nearly $3 billion in revenue, and their top executives each received annual compensation packages worth well over $3 million.
While the for-profit prison industry touts the idea that governments can save money through privatization, private prisons often fail to deliver demonstrable fiscal benefits — and can even cost taxpayers more than publicly operated institutions. Numerous studies by researchers, state governments and federal agencies contradict the supposed economic benefits touted by industry supporters.

As state governments across the nation confront deep fiscal deficits, the notion that private prisons demonstrably reduce the costs of incarceration is more than untrue — it is dangerous and irresponsible. Inflated assertions about cost savings threaten to lure states into privatization, rather than reducing incarceration rates and limiting corrections spending through serious criminal justice reform.


http://www.cnbc.com/id/44762286/

Empirical studies also show a heightened level of violence in some private prisons. With every incentive to slash salaries so as to maximize corporate profits, private prison companies in some instances fill their facilities with inexperienced staff. After an infamous escape from an Arizona private prison in 2010, for example, the Arizona Department of Corrections reported that at the prison “[s]taff are fairly ‘green’ across all shifts,” “are not proficient with weapons” and habitually ignore sounding alarms. Private facilities have also been linked to atrocious conditions. In a private juvenile facility in Texas, for example, auditors reported, “[c]ells were filthy, smelled of feces and urine.”

Now is the time for serious criminal justice reform, not privatization schemes. The private prison industry feeds off the mass incarceration problem and cannot be part of the solution. The only real way to cut prison spending is to cut the number of people we keep in prison.

Shapiro is a Staff Attorney at the ACLU’s National Prison Project. He litigates cases and engages in advocacy regarding prison and detention conditions, including immigration detention, access to information about prison conditions, the right of prisoners to communicate with the outside world and to practice religion, and the freedom from arbitrary body cavity searches. Prior to joining the ACLU, Shapiro worked as an associate at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, where he litigated First Amendment cases in federal trial and appellate courts, and served as a law clerk to Judge Edward R. Becker, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Shapiro is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School and studied as a Fulbright Scholar in Moscow, Russia. 



Watch the premiere of "Billions Behind Bars: Inside America's Prison Industry" Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 9pm, 10pm, 12am and 1am ET.

2 comments:

  1. Let my people go.end slavery.not just for blacks! For all people.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The criminalization of drug users seems the only way to keep slavery alive without using blacks alone.

    ReplyDelete