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Americans are the worst people ever! Do you believe that? I don’t either, but that is the only logical conclusion you can reach if you examine the statistics for incarceration in this country.

If we weren’t the worst people ever, committing the most rapes, murders, thefts, drug deals, and swindles in the world, than why would we have the most people in prison in the history of the world?

1 out of every 31 adults in this country are in jail, prison, on probation or on parole.

Every time I hear somebody saying that we need to get tough on crime, I wonder how much tougher we can be? Maybe when we get to a full 10% of adults in this country incarcerated, then we will finally being putting our foot down.

Here is the really great thing about prisons: they are privatized. They are for profit, private corporations, subsisting on your tax money.

The prison system is like your uncle Billy, who lost his job and moved into your basement. He can’t find a job so he watches tv all day and has put on 50 pounds, because he is eating you out of house and home, but he feels like he is contributing because he brought his .357 and says he keeps the house safe while you work.  Oh, and he wants you to upgrade your cable package. That is the American Prison System. Proudly taking more of your tax dollars every year.

The levels of violent crime have remained the same for the last 40 years. There are more murders than in 1970, but only because there are more people as well. Per capita, murder, rape, armed robbery, etc is still on the same level as it was. You are statistically no more likely to suffer a serious crime now, than you would have been in the 70’s. Lets take a look at a chart of prison population however.

You would expect that there would be more people in prison, because the population has increased, but clearly the levels of incarceration have exploded. It seems to have really taken off around 1980 when we started the “War on Drugs”. I have spoken about that fiasco previously. But, we are doing more than busting drug addicts and putting them in the pokie. With the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill, prisons are now the largest mental health caretaker in the world. In the eyes of the court a crime is a crime, even if you are too mentally ill to know better, or be able to do anything about it.

Actually, with the heavy emphasis on punishment in this country, it makes perfect sense to incarcerate the mentally ill, along side predatory criminals. Americans love to punish.  Being mentally ill is as good a reason as committing crime, in order to merit punishment. I don’t understand exactly why it is that Americans are like this. I think it might be partly the successful indoctrination of most people by the elites that the poor are to blame for the difficult situation the middle class finds itself enduring. The rich continue to prosper by corrupting laws and elected officials, by demanding corporate welfare and subverting representational democracy, but the middle class, whose earnings continue to shrink, while they work longer hours, continues to blame to poor for receiving handouts and committing crimes.

Certainly a portion of the increase in incarceration does relate to better police tools. DNA, forensic science, etc have all improved the ability of police to solve crimes, but most crimes don’t require much police work to solve. Most murders, for instance, are committed by people known or related to the victim. TV shows make us think it is difficult, but that is rarely the case.

It is also rarely the case that once you are charged with a crime that you will be acquitted. Once again, public perception is shaped by TV. The lawyers on the shows make impassioned speeches, or use clever legal sophistry, or technicalities to win freedom for their clients. This belief is furthered by the famous cases of our times. O.J. Simpson and Kobe Bryant come to mind. For you and me however, a good lawyer is going to try hard to get your punishment reduced, the conviction is rarely a question. The DA has a virtually unlimited budget so they can use as many lawyer’s, investigators and time as they want. Plus, the cops that investigated your case are always called as expert witnesses. What they are experts at, is leaving out any information that shows you are innocent, and emphasizing anything that tends to make you look guilty.

Here is another great thing about prisons. Not only do prisons cost us a ton of money, they have evolved in our corporate-fascist society to take your job. The large, private corporations getting fat off of your tax dollar are not satisfied with the skyrocketing prison population. Profits are good, and the tax money that funds them is guaranteed, but now prisons are being used for slave labor.

The Prison Industrial Complex is pimping out their prisoners to other corporations for cheap labor, and I don’t just mean picking up trash along the roads.  Chevron, IBM, Motorola, Compaq, Texas Instruments, Honeywell, Microsoft, Victoria’s Secret and Boeing are among the corporations taking advantage of this labor. Forget college, pretty soon, the best way to get a job will be by going to prison.

Covert Action Quarterly covered this subject 10 years ago. I really miss that publication. Here is the link: http://covertaction.org//content/view/59/0/

A recent post I have found will tell you the same things: http://www.theurbanpolitico.com/2010/05/unmasking-prison-industrial-complex.html

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10 Comments

  1. This information needs to get out to the American Public but I am afraid it will take forever. I find very few individuals including professional business owners who have any clue about what our “Get Tough on Crime” way of thinking has actually turned into. Keep spreading the message!

    • Thank you for taking the time to read it. All we can do, is all we can do.

  2. The other huge issue we have with the current way we have our prisons organized is the total mishandling of the mentaly ill.

    We are using for profit prisons money to cage like animals not criminals but real mentaly disabled individuals who have fell through the huge cracks we have in our system. This is cruel and our country needs to wake up and realize that the people who need our help the most are being caged like animals. We give endangered species 100 times more protection than we do the weakest in our society.

    • Yes, good point. I tried to touch on that a bit as well. It baffles me that people are so active for animal rights, but will pass the hungry and homeless without giving them a thought. Many mentally ill are on the streets, if they are not incarcerated. I am sure it is “socialist” to say so, but in the worlds richest, and in fact history’s richest country, I can’t see a reason anybody should be hungry, homeless, or not have medicine.

      • I am as conservative as they come but I do not say that judging myself or should I say comparing myself to what the news media or even the Republican Party would call Conservative.

        I believe it is time that honesty comes before political affiliation I believe that untill we as Americans are willing to educate ourselves on the issues facing us today and not accept half truths but have a yearning for the real truth and when we get the real truth are willing to hit problems and issues head on. Untill then our country and what is says it stands for is nothing but a lie!!

        I’m a veteran and a christian. I believe in the principles this country was founded on. But when we as a society lock the mentaly ill up like animals in a for profit prison system created not for them but created for criminals and we do not give them any kind of real care for there illness. When we demonize an entire race of people such as Mexicans not based on facts but on half facts and myths. When we allow an entire race of people become targets of Americans frustration about the economy just to take political pressure off certain politicians. When all of these things take place, we no longer are the country many of us claim to love.

        I am against illegal alleins. I am also againt having 10 to 15 percent of our population “unemployable” not unemployed but a group that is so bad they cannot be usefull to an employer and they have become addicted and allowed to live off the system. This 10 to 15 percent of our poplulation is the real reason we have an illegal problem today but no one is willing to stand up and tell the truth because of fear of being called a racist. So we demonize hard working individuals and allow them to be called every name in the book and stripped of dignity, all in the name of being a “Patriot”.

        Honest, education, hardwork, and Values are what made this country great. We need people who believe in these things more than they believe in a “Party” or a “Label”. We neeed people to seek the truth!!!

      • In certain ways I am as left wing as they come, and ironically I think that is why we have similar views. People always think of the political spectrum as a pendulum, but in fact it is a ring. Once you go far enough right or left, you find yourself right next to the deepest part of the other side. Did you know that the neoconservative movement arose from people in this country that were originally socialists? Check it out on wikipedia, very interesting.

        There is a guy at my work whose father is the big Tea Party organizer here. When we talk politics, he keeps saying, “We agree on so much, where do we disagree?”, and it mostly comes down to how we view the role of government.

  3. You have a great blog and I am glad I stumbled onto it. While I am not sure we agree on everything I do think we agree on alot of whats important. Keep writing, sooner or later the truth will always win!!!

    • Thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to visit my little blog.
      I don’t think that it is important that we agree on everything. My purpose is to provoke thought and discussion. Where I think we agree the most is in the belief that democracy requires study and thought by the people to survive, and that is the most important and fundamental basis of freedom.
      That being said, I do try to the best of my ability to write informed opinions. I do not believe I am right, I do really try however to be as right as possible. I am always willing to change my position based on new information and experiences.
      I have several stubs I am putting together now, and will soon have them up. I have been working a lot, with birthdays and car troubles hanging over my head.
      Thank You again for your visits, and please spread the word to any that like to think.

  4. I watched the other night the news story of the execution of the guy in Utah. I could not help but wonder what earthly good did we accomplish that day and how a society can sit and justify executing an individual 25 years after the fact. No one is the same person they were 25 years ago and while what this guy did was worthy of an extreme punishment I cannot see how anyone was better off the day after the execution.

    Our Justice system is broke and will never be perfect just because humans are not perfect. But not being perfect and being totaly corrupted is 2 different things. Our system is corrupt because of 2 distinct reasons. One we have allowed the imprisonment of our citizens become a for profit business which by doing so encourages the further ratcheting up of the imprisonments to increase profits. This is big business in our country today and while this makes no sense when you look at this from the “Justice” point of view it makes all the sense in the world when you look at it from the “Big Business” point of view. How can a free society sit back and let the imprisonment of its own citizens become a “Profit Making Machine”? The second reason and the one that is most disturbing is the citizens of our country do not understand nor do they want to understand what is happening. They have become happy basing all their opinions and beliefs on “5 second sound bytes” and do not attempt to look any further.

    I am very much pro death penalty if it can be administered in a fair just way. The problem is when you look at this from the time of Christ to present there is no fair just way. It is impossible to keep human error and corruption completely out of they system. So with that being said and all the perfect examples you can read about via the internet today of individuals being executed years after the event that are not the same people, I cannot justify allowing the Federal Government, State Governement, nor the Local Government taking a human life.

    Here is an idea that is so simple and an idea that would change our society forever. The President, no matter who it is, needs to go on Primetime TV and declare a “Total Loss” on the war on drugs. The budget on this war needs to be slashed by 80 percent from that day forward. We then need a real educated discussion on what we are going to do with our national drug problem. Instead of spending billions on the drug war we will instead spend that same money emptying our prisons employing the best minds in our nation on working with the prison population on rehabilitation and re entry to society. We also spend the money to help the mentaly ill in our country who we as humans and those of us who call ourselves Christians have a duty to protect and help. Instead of caging them we are going to embark on treating them with the main goal of letting them reenter society to the level they are able too. We have imprisoned some of the brightest business minds in our society today. If the talent can be taken from running a Drug Ring to running a legitimate business the impact would be amazing.

    Now I know some will say that I appear to be a bleeding heart liberal who wants to create wastefull programs that will not be effecient and will cost the taxpayer money but if your honest we are doing that anyway and doing it in a manner that no one can proclaim to be remotely moral. I believe that we as a society can have a government and a private sector working to together to fix our issues. The issue is not that government is evil and can never accomplish these tasks. The issue is our citizens in charge of electing and holding officials responsible are uneducated and they do not have the ability to put country over their own day to day lives. And because of this ignorance our government and big business is out of controll.

    I am a business owner and unlike mega corporations that only seek profit by any means, small business has a real “soul”. Small Business does have a “Soul” and a passion for more than just profits. I work with Small Business Owners each day that amaze me because life is so much more than the dollar they can put in their pocket today. They want to be a part of many solutions and if given the chance could make a huge impact but our society must be willing to change as a whole. These are our Leaders we need as a society to help turn things around.

    • You made a lot of great points. I really liked what you had to say. Keep opening eyes, eventually people are going to have to notice.


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