The Vast Majority of People in US Prisons Shouldn’t Be There, Period…..


But They Are Profitable Chattel.

 

cocainefin

 

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

 

Daily, the politicians and think tanks promote improving our nation’s large city public education by turning them over to profiteering operators of charter schools.  There’s a lot of money to be paid in modern plantation educational contracts.

And that’s what vast stretches of urban America have become: plantations for harvesting poor blacks and Latinos for educational corporations and for a vast prison-industrial complex whose tentacles reach out throughout the desolation of neighborhoods whose most common denominator is the lack of economic hope or opportunity.  The impoverishment has been that way for decades.

Well there is one source of private funds in these vast areas of destitution: the drug industry.  It is capitalism distilled to its essence, with the corner teenager who sells crack as a modern day Fuller Brush Man.

Of course, no public officials are talking even remotely about providing jobs to these financially blighted areas.

But the status quo government/corporate alliance has figured out how to exploit the residents of these areas to make a profit by creating non-union schools that often perform below the comparable public school level in similar locations.

And then – inextricably intertwined with the so-called failed public schools — there is the prison-industrial complex that makes a financial killing off of the war on drugs, a conflict so immersed in racial prejudice and legal profiteering of the law enforcement/judicial/attorney/prison system that you can call it the war for making a lot of people richer at the expense of multi-generational impoverishment of people of color trapped in place.

This is made clear in the moving and informative documentary by Eugene Jarecki, “The House I Live In.” Told through personal stories with statistics added through titling, “The House I Live In” provides insight into the devastation of institutionalizing drugs within communities in order for others to profit. (Whites who are poor and have mental health needs also get victimized by the non-violent offender penalization machine.)

Truthout writers Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese provide additional background on this topic in an April 3 article:

The poison fruit of the massive security state apparatus in the United States is mass incarceration. The United States, with 5 percent of the world’s population, has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, meaning one out of four incarcerated people are in the “land of the free.” According to the World Prison Population list, the United States has the highest prison population rate in the world, 743 per 100,000 of the national population. The next closest is Rwanda at 595. More than half the countries and territories in the world (54 percent) have rates below 150.

Incarceration is only part of the criminal justice supervision system. When probation and parole are included, 7.3 million Americans are “in the system”; that is, 1 out of 34 Americans is either incarcerated, on probation or on parole. The rate of African-Americans under supervision (prison, probation or parole) is 1 in 11…..

Indeed, the mass incarceration system is very expensive. According to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2010, state corrections institutions spent $37.3 billion to imprison a total of 1,316,858 inmates. BJS estimates that the mean expenditures per person were $28,323. The federal government fiscal year 2013 budget for the Bureau of Prisons totals $6.9 billion. Imagine the result if those dollars were invested in communities instead.

When incarceration is looked at through a racial prism, the racially disproportionate impact is striking. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “In 2011, blacks and Hispanics were imprisoned at higher rates than whites in all age groups for both male and female inmates. Among prisoners ages 18 to 19, black males were imprisoned at more than 9 times the rate of white males.”

Continue Reading @ BuzzFlash

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