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Category Archives: Slave Labor in America

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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