IF IT LOOKS LIKE SLAVERY, SMELLS LIKE SLAVERY

“I will now turn to the racial problems that engulf our country and suppress an entire class of people. Racism is alive and well in America. Now it is a criminal justice system that targets people of color. Mass incarceration provides a gigantic windfall for the private prison industry. While the nation’s unprecedented rate of imprisonment deprives individuals of freedom, wrests loved ones from their families, and drains the resources of governments, communities, and tax-payers, the private prison industry rakes in billions.
“The United States imprisons more people – both per capita and in absolute terms – than any other nation in the world, including Russia, China, and Iran. Over the past four decades, imprisonment in the United States has skyrocketed, spurred by criminal laws that impose steep sentences and curtail the opportunity to earn probation and parole. 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. Meanwhile, the crippling cost of imprisoning increasing numbers of Americans saddles government budgets with rising debt and exacerbates the current fiscal crises confronting states across the nation.
“You think that’s a crime? Oh, no. A crime is paying prisoners one dollar a day to work, then charging them five dollars a minute to make a call. A crime is creating dozens more rules for prisoners to abide by, then keeping them in prison seventy-six percent longer for the same crime than those in state or federal facilities.
“Private prison companies essentially admit that their business model depends on high rates of incarceration. There was talk of decriminalizing drug use, taking away mandatory sentencing. What do you think the private prison system did? They said the demand for their facilities and services could be adversely affected by leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices.
“Private prisons for adults were virtually non-existent until the early 1980s, but the number of prisoners in private prisons increased by approximately sixteen hundred percent between 1990 and 2009. Today, for-profit companies are responsible for approximately six percent of state prisoners, sixteen percent of federal prisoners, and, according to one report, nearly half of all immigrants detained by the federal government.
“Now do you see why they are so reluctant to legalize immigration and get rid of three strike laws and mandatory sentencing?
“Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, an agency that locks up roughly four hundred thousand immigrants each year and spends over two billion annually on custody operations now intends to create a new network of massive immigration detention centers, managed largely by private companies.
“If it looks like slavery, smells like slavery then it is slavery. It’s the new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where up to two 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 twenty-five cents an hour and refuse to work, they’re locked up in isolation cells.
“The list includes the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T and lots more. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generated by prison labor. Just between 1980 and 2010, profits went up from four hundred million to six billion. Inmates in state penitentiaries generally receive the minimum wage for their work, but in privately-run prisons, they receive as little as seventeen cents per hour for a maximum of six hours work a day, the equivalent of twenty dollars per month. Those rates equate to Third World labor markets. A company that operated a maquiladora on the Mexican border closed down its operations there and relocated to San Quentin State Prison in California. Some study found that private prison inmates lost ‘good behavior time’ at a rate eight times higher than those in state prisons did.
“Ninety-seven percent of one hundred twenty-five thousand federal inmates have been convicted of non-violent crimes. More than half of the six hundred thousand 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 two million prisoners suffer from mental illness.
“The American government maintains that there is no alternative but to vigorously prosecute their zero tolerance policy of arresting drug users and their dealers. That has led to the incarceration of over five hundred thousand Americans for non-violent crimes. Meanwhile the flood of illegal drugs into America continues.
“Simply, it imitates Nazi Germany with respect to forced labor and concentration camps.
“There are a great many municipalities out there who treat their citizens as cash cows. Tickets, fines, charges for incarcerating them, make up as much as thirty percent of their budgets. This was the case Ferguson, Missouri in 2012 when Michael Brown was shot eleven times. That year, eighty-six percent of stops, ninety two percent of searches and ninety three percent of arrests were of black people – despite the fact that police officers were far less likely to find contraband on black drivers. This worsened inequality, as struggling blacks funded local government rather than relatively affluent whites.
“There were more than twenty-six thousand citations issued in Ferguson that year out of a population of twenty-one thousand. That is more than one citation for every man woman and child in the city.
“Mayors, city attorneys, police chiefs, must be the same racial mix as the population as a whole. This can be done today if we are serious.

They’ve got it so it’s a thing of beauty. The cartels stay in business because the CIA needs silenced money to run their covert operations. So the CIA gets a cut of a few percent to facilitate the cartels in their operations. The money goes into the U.S. banking system where it earns billions of dollars in profits for the big banks because it boosts the amount of money the banks can loan. Some of that money is loaned to the private prison system that builds more for-profit jails.
Drugs are flowing into the country across porous borders and there are plenty of young, innocent drug users to keep the jails filled. The private prison system is making billions, which it then feeds to legislatures to passed stricter drug laws.

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