Posts tagged ‘michele alexander’

February 14, 2012

Keeping Prisons Full: the New Jim Crow


The Huffington Post published an article today on private prison corporations making profits off of the mass incarcerations of human beings. This is old news. The “noteworthy” news today was that the Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest operator of for-profit prisons, recently sent a letter to 48 different states offering to buy up their prisons as a remedy for “challenging corrections budgets” and in return the Corrections Corporation of America is demanding that states ensure they keep the prison system at least 90% full, for which the state will receive some of the profit made from the resulting human suffering. 

“In exchange, the company is asking for a 20-year management contract, plus an assurance that the prison would remain at least 90 percent full, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Huffington Post.”

How does a state ensure that a prison is at least 90% full? Take a good guess. We have the “war on drugs” for one, which is a law that is preferential to white and rich Americans, and targets largely black and poor Americans. Michele Alexander describes this huge issue in more detail in her latest book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

Establishing a profit incentive to imprison citizens is absurdly immoral. Not only that, but this horrific behavior is affecting only one group of citizens: black Americans and other ethnic minorities. 

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