Private Prisons & Occupy Wall Street Protests!!

Occupy Wall Street should be looking at private prison corporations in their quest for accountability and spending in government. Private prison companies are in it for the money. Policymakers should be in it for healthy, safe communities. Herein are the desecrations of human mortality and the value of human lives as the corporate world has placed a bounty on every person that has being a target for incarceration and imprisonment inside a private prison funded by greed and corruption.

The “game on” mentality has hit the prison industry as lobbyists are jockeying for a close relationship with the executive branch of states such as Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Arizona to name a few. Their stand on prison legislation is clear and to the point. Build more prison beds and make more profit. It should be clear to many constituents today that the influence for such legislation to build larger and stronger prison industrial complexes are very much the focus of those in power and their allies who receive reciprocal benefits directly or indirectly to change their political strategies within their distinct criminal justice structures to provide a boost for this kind of growth. The strategy is straight forward and easy to detect if you follow the money trail. Corporate money has found its way into the pockets of politicians to influence policy making through lobbying, direct campaign contributions and networking aka building personal relationships and intimate associations with those who can take the lead in legislation or policy making. These phenomena did not happen overnight. It has been in the development stages since the end of the Vietnam War.

There have been obvious successes in attaining such relationships nationwide as many states have promulgated policies that enhance mass incarceration. Targeting willing participants to join their cause and formulate prison growth, they are callous to the negative impacts of prison overcrowding and rising costs as that share of the strategy falls on those state agencies participating as silent partners in this venture and carry the administrative drains and expenses. Their contracts with the private providers exclude many management issues related to medical care, mental health care and operational functions. These obligations are maintained by the state by statute thus making the state the explicit provider to handle these burdens and leave the private contractor only concerned with only cost and profit margins. It appears this link in their relationships is deemed legal but not entirely ethical.

The industrialized incarceration policy has resulted in three major problems for state policy makers. The first is bed space that has to keep up with the growing populations. The second is the funding for such expansion and the third is the specialties involved in providing the mandated associated programs e.g. educational, medical, mental health and other developmental programs that are requirements for prisoners to attend while incarcerated. These hidden expenses result in underscoring or underestimating actual incarceration costs within the budget and then, one-time in between legislative hearings, requests additional funds to meet these expenses are made without the public awareness. Such details require public hearings in order to have open meetings and transparency in government but are often discussed in backroom deals and included in packages approved as pork items that benefit those supportive of the deal.

The downside to these ineffective criminal justice policies is the eventual need to reduce costs regarding incarceration as current budget can’t sustain such growth without public outcry.

These are the suffering side effects of incarceration as it exhausts the funding for better education, health care and other public safety matters. Once the public is tired of paying for such monstrous prison complexes within their districts or state, they would take a turn and protest these expenses and insist that politicians represent their interest rather than those of the prison industry. It is very much like the Occupy Wall Street movement that has taken the nation in a stranglehold and causing much controversy over corporate greed, profits and exploitations.

This change in ideology is already happening. People are taking the time to prioritize their own needs rather than that of corporate demons. Demonstrating the revenue growth of the prison benefits versus the need to fund other state functions has divided the legislature and many of its constituents are now protesting such expenditures. The public in general does not feel or see any benefits from more people being incarcerated or put behind bars as a benefit to their own wellness or benefit thus shift their support to those who support education, healthcare and other social values that have an impact on the community rather than the prison complexes. In other words, if you want to build prisons, you do it at your expense and not ours. Leave our tax money alone and suggest the private prison bear the costs for such strategy to increase prison space.


Gaming the System: How the political strategies of private prison companies promote ineffective incarceration policies – Justice Policy Institute, June, 2011

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