A Final Farewell

Hello all! We would like to start off by giving a HUGE thank you to all of the visitors of our blog. We greatly appreciate your support! Our blog, End Private Prisons, was created to shed light on the controversial topic of mass incarceration and the role that private prisons play. We hope that over the past four weeks you’ve learned a thing or two about the prison system in America.

Since none of our writers are politicians, our goal was never to be “politically correct” or use “alternative facts” to push our agenda. Instead, we wanted to create a blog that gave a truthful overview of the role that private prisons play in mass incarceration. We did this through examining the system from unique perspectives including labor, financials and race.

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A major difference between End Private Prison and other blogs on this issue is that we wanted to approach this topic from a humane point of view. In today’s capitalistic society, there is always a huge emphasis on economic profit. It is often forget that those who we label as inmates also have families that are greatly affected by this system. We understand that anyone who commits a crime deserves to be punished by the appropriate punishment, however, we also believe that it does not give the anyone [the government, corporations, private prisons etc.] the right to profit at the expense of someone else’s wrongdoing.

Ultimately we hope you continue to stay engaged in this issue and share what you’ve learned from our blog with others. Continue to follow us on twitter @_EndPP or tweet/search the following hashtags #endprivateprisons, #massincarceration and #privateprisons.

Also for more information about the private prison system and mass incarceration in America check out some the  websites below

Again, thank you for staying engaged with us

P.S. Stay woke

 

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Private Prisons Please Stop Spending Taxpayers’ Money!

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Despite what your senator may claim ….don’t believe the hype! Mass incarceration is strenuous on taxpayer dollars and if you’re a law-abiding citizen with a job then that means your money will be helping with the bill!  In today’s economy people are barely able to afford themselves let alone inmates who were given football numbers for petty crimes in efforts to create maximum profit for private prisons.

To be frank the whole system is screwed. On one hand while we the taxpayers are forced to pay more money in taxes in order to keep the prison doors open, lowering the budget would also put those incarcerated at risk.

Studies have proven that mass incarceration is not the answer in solving the problem. Instead of contributing tax dollars to this system that acts as modern day slavery, contributions  to education and rehabilitation programs would be more effective and would also help illuminate the amount of arrest.   This logic would also eventually save taxpayers money because the incarceration rate would decline.

“According to one study, even if only 10 percent of drug addicted offenders went to rehabilitation program instead of jail the criminal justice system would save 4.8 billion in one year” GenFKD

Still don’t understand how education plays a role in mass incarceration? The Atlantic provides a great visual of mass incarceration and highlights how education is a factor in the demographic that makes up the highest percentage of the incarcerated population…The Black Male.

 

Besides more education and rehabilitation programs being more affective than mass incarceration another point that is obvious and shouldn’t be ignored is that its simply an unfair system. According to Prison Divest, while we the taxpayers are forced to pay more taxes private prisons receive tax breaks and pay as little as 3 percent in tax dollars. Between the small amount of taxes they are forced to pay and the contracting of prison labor this allows them to receive maximum profit. The proof is in the pudding how can you argue that mass incarceration helps taxpayers when we are the ones that are paying for it? Employees stimulate the economy not free labor.

 

Incarceration Nation: Ethical Issues Surrounding Private Prisons

The United States has the largest prison population in the world since the incarceration rate has skyrocketed since the mid 70’s, as seen in the chart below.

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Prisoners, of whom a majority are African-American, are often employed as cheap or even free labor by companies with the intention of cutting costs and maximising profit. The most common form of employment involves simple manufacturing that operates under government-run prison production schemes that are called “correctional industries” or Unicor. As mentioned in last week’s post, private prisons fall short in terms of cost-efficiency. In addition to that, they are also severely lacking from a moral standpoint. This post will take a closer look at the ethical implications of private prisons and inmate labor.

The first problem lies with who the prisoners are. Most inmates commit low-level, non-violent crimes and have been unfairly sentenced to jail time. While on the surface it might seem as though prosecutors are to blame for this, private prisons are the main culprit as they earn more profit when more of their prisons are filled up. Lauren-Brooke Eisen (@lbeisen), senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice, has even said that one reason the Trump administration is moving back to private prisons is based on “what they falsely see as a rise in crime”.

Overcrowding, overheating, understaffing, lack of medical attention, abuse and neglect… These are just some of the conditions inmates are subjected to in for-profit prisons. Some prison facilities even lose their contract with federal immigration authorities because of the unimaginable conditions they subject their inmates to. One example is the Willacy facility, in which inmates slept a couple of feet apart in an area haphazardly built out of Kevlar tents.

We also cannot ignore the fact that when corporations hire inmates, some, if not most, of them are forced to work against their will. This means that your groceries from Whole Foods and lingerie from Victoria’s Secret were involuntarily made or packaged by someone just so that a company could make more profit from it. Doesn’t that sound like slavery to you?

The ethical issues that stem from inmate labor extend far beyond prison walls. BP P.L.C., also known as British Petroleum, is a British multinational oil and gas company that currently has 74,500 employees in 72 countries. In 2010, when BP’s Deepwater Horizon wellhead exploded, inmates were made to clean up crude oil which had spilled into the Gulf of Mexico along Louisiana beaches. This sparked outrage as instead of hiring the coastal residents who were desperate for work, BP turned to hiring inmates with the hopes of earning tax breaks. Inmates were forced to work for hours on end, performing the most toxic job in America with no proper job training.

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The ethical issues surrounding private prisons are more than sufficient to necessitate private prison reform.

Never-Ending, Self-Fulfilling

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The political cartoon above illustrates the never-ending self-fulling sentencing cycle in the America private prison system. Private prisons sponsor lobby groups that pressure politicians into passing stricter laws. These laws sentence more people to prison for longer periods of times. To keep up with the demand for more space, more private prisons are being built, which brings in more revenue for them.  To keep up the supply of prisoners, they lobby to the government for stricter laws. And the cycle goes on and on and on…

Private Prisons Offer Little in Savings

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According to the New York Times, private prisons offer little when it comes to saving money. More than 30 states believed that private prisons would be beneficial in saving them more money than state prisons. Contrary to this belief, data in Arizona suggest that private prisons can cost more to operate than state prisons. Despite the state law that indicates all private prisons should be “cost saving,” Arizona’s own data points out that inmates in private prisons can cost around $1,600 more per year, and that’s roughly around the same amount as state prisons. The research that was conducted by the Arizona Department of Corrections, explained why private prisons seem less expensive than what they really are.  It’s because they only incarcerate inmates who are healthy, or how the State Representative Chad Campbell likes to call it “cherry picking.”

Inmates who are severely ill automatically get turned away from a private prison.  Five out of eight private prisons in Arizona turned away inmates that were either very ill, mental, had chronic conditions, etc; They were “saving” money by not providing medical health care to inmates.  Steve Owens, the spokesman for Corrections Corporation of America, indicated that private prisons in Arizona were in fact saving money.   However, when asked to provide factual evidence, he couldn’t do so.  Instead he stated

“There is a mixed bag of research out there.  It’s not as black and white and cut and dried as we would like.”

In the article Do Private Prisons Really Save Us Money?  Eric Young states that private prisons are not cost effective and doesn’t save taxpayers money as many claim to think. Without hardcore evidence, private facilities cannot claim to be less cost efficient than state prisons.  Private prisons don’t supply the safety that inmates need. Young stated that

“Time and time again, we’ve proven that federal prisons are the most cost- effective institutions to help rehabilitate our nation’s inmates.”

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The real question is are private prisons saving money?  The answer is no!  Based from what I got from both articles,  private prisons are more cost efficient than anything else, in fact, private prisons cost more than state prisons. I totally agree with Eric Young, private prisons are nothing but facilities to use and abused inmates, and if money isn’t being saved, then why have them?