The Private Prisons Profit on Youth

Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger

287px-Sing_SingWe have had a lot of discussions here about the ever growing private prison system in the United States, where our country has become the world leader in imprisoning its citizens. Many blogs have been written discussing our world prison leadership and the fact that it stems from the failed “War on Drugs”, which has tended to focus on people in poverty and/or people of color. The for-profit prison industry has had a growth spurt that can be directly traced to that aspect of the conservative movement that has disparaged government services and at the same time pushed for privatization of government services using the false concept that private industry can do it better and cheaper. It is an ideas that to me seems nonsensical on its face because of the absolute need that private industry turns a profit and in today’s economic scheme that profit has to continually rise as time passes. Business strategy, which by definition, must focus on profit has focused on cutting costs as a means of building profit. Cutting costs then devolves into hiring less skilled workers, cutting down on services provided and in a business like private prisons reducing the quality of care. When ot comes to reduction of services and diminishing of quality of care when it comes to the prison industry, I’m sure that the majority of public opinion would approve of even more draconian measures. After all those convicted of a crime are generally scorned and feared. Muscular fundamentalist philosophy has discarded the Jesus of turn the other cheek into a Jesus of vengeance and so there is even in some circles moral approval of treating prison inmates harshly. There is now a widespread use of solitary confinement as a tool of prison punishment and that confinement has stretched from weeks, too months and too years. We are after all, a society that has a majority of Americans for torture in our post 9/11 era.

In 2008 we saw the opening of a scandal in Pennsylvania where it was discovered that juvenile court judges were sentencing youths to prison for minor offenses because they had received money from sources in the private prison industry. Two judges were convicted in this case and it was seen that many youths were adversely affected and are now suing for unlawful imprisonment. It is this profiting on the imprisonment of youth that I would like to address broadly in this blog. For the most part my reference links will appear at its conclusion. This is a very disturbing problem that I think cuts to the heart of what kind of society we want to live in and I would hope that others find this as disturbing as I do.The impetus for this blog is a Huffington Post story titled: “Prisoners of Profit” by Chris Kirkham

Chris wrote:

“From a glance at his background, one might assume that James F. Slattery would have a difficult time convincing any state in America to entrust him with the supervision of its lawbreaking youth.

Over the past quarter century, Slattery’s for-profit prison enterprises have run afoul of the Justice Department and authorities in New York, Florida, Maryland, Nevada and Texas for alleged offenses ranging from condoning abuse of inmates to plying politicians with undisclosed gifts while seeking to secure state contracts.”

He goes on to give specifics about incidents that have occurred in Slattery’s prisons such as a teen dying in a Texas Boot Camp that went untreated by authorities although the boy was vomiting; a Maryland facility that encouraged kids to fight on Saturday mornings as a method of dispute resolution; and in Florida charges that the company failed to report incidents of riots, assaults and sexual abuse.

“Despite that history, Slattery’s current company, Youth Services International, has retained and even expanded its contracts to operate juvenile prisons in several states. The company has capitalized on budgetary strains across the country as governments embrace privatization in pursuit of cost savings. Nearly 40 percent of the nation’s juvenile delinquents are today committed to private facilities, according to the most recent federal data from 2011, up from about 33 percent twelve years earlier.

Over the past two decades, more than 40,000 boys and girls in 16 states have gone through one of Slattery’s prisons, boot camps or detention centers, according to a Huffington Post analysis of juvenile facility data.”

It all returns to the analysis of whether for-profit prisons for youth provide not only cost savings, but actually are effective in reducing rates of recidivism. Study after study has shown that recidivism rates have actually increased with private prisons and that costs have exceeded prisons maintained by public employees. This large and growing industry though has become an investment opportunity for some and a profit point for others, yet the abuses continue unabated.

“Seventeen-year-old Hillary Transue did what lots of 17-year-olds do: Got into mischief. Hillary’s mischief was composing a MySpace page poking fun at the assistant principal of the high school she attended in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Hillary was an honor student who’d never had any trouble with the law before. And her MySpace page stated clearly that the page was a joke. But despite all that, Hilary found herself charged with harassment. She stood before a judge and heard him sentence her to three months in a juvenile detention facility.

What she expected was perhaps a stern lecture. What she got was a perp walk – being led away in handcuffs as her stunned parents stood by helplessly. Hillary told The New York Times, “I felt like I had been thrown into some surreal sort of nightmare. All I wanted to know was how this could be fair and why the judge would do such a thing.”

It wasn’t until two years later that she found out why. In Scranton, Pennsylvania, two judges pleaded guilty to operating a kickback scheme involving juvenile offenders. The judges, Mark Ciavarella Jr. and Michael Conahan, took more than $2.6 million in kickbacks from a private prison company to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers. Since 2003, Ciaverella had sentenced an estimated 5,000 juveniles. Conahan was accused of setting up the contracts. Many of the youngsters shipped off to the detention centers were first-time offenders.

PA Child Care is a juvenile detention center in Pittston Township, Pennsylvania. It was opened in February 2003. It has a sister company, Western PA Child Care, in Butler County, Pennsylvania. Treatment at both facilities is provided by Mid Atlantic Youth Services. Gregory Zappala took sole ownership of the company when he purchased co-owner Robert Powell’s share in June 2008.

In July 2009, Powell pled guilty to failing to report a felony and being an accessory to tax evasion conspiracy in connection with $770,000 in kickbacks he paid to Ciavarella and Conahan in exchange for facilitating the development of his facilities.

The childcare facilities have also been criticized for their costs, which ranged as high as $315 per child per day. Butler County paid Western PA Child Care about $800,000 in payments between 2005 and 2008. Butler County did not renew Western PA Child Care’s contract after an extension of the contract ran out at the end of 2008.”

Now I would be remiss in not saying that there are other studies that laud the use of private prisons, on such is “The Reason Foundation” which is purportedly a libertarian organization. They have a report on private prisons with a conclusion that lauds the private prison industry for providing better services for the prisoners. That report can be found here:  Interestingly though the Reason Foundation seems to stretch libertarianism to its breaking point in when it comes to Federal Funding of certain educational tests it supports as shown here:  Finally though comes the fact that the Reason Foundation is one of the front groups funded by the right wing ideologues The Koch Brothers and Sarah Scaife Foundation.  The family history of both the Koch’s and the Scaifes (Mellon Family) show that much of the wealth garnered came from government and indeed a Mellon was the Treasury Secretary during the Coolidge Administration. Their libertarianism is their philosophy for all but the members of their economic class.

“In Florida, where private contractors have in recent years taken control of all of the state’s 3,300 youth prison beds, YSI now manages more than $100 million in contracts, about 10 percent of the system. Its facilities have generated conspicuously large numbers of claims that guards have assaulted youth, according to a HuffPost compilation of state reports. A YSI facility in Palm Beach County had the highest rate of reported sexual assaults out of 36 facilities reviewed in Florida, the Bureau of Justice Statistics report found.

The state’s sweeping privatization of its juvenile incarceration system has produced some of the worst re-offending rates in the nation. More than 40 percent of youth offenders sent to one of Florida’s juvenile prisons wind up arrested and convicted of another crime within a year of their release, according to state data. In New York state, where historically no youth offenders have been held in private institutions, 25 percent are convicted again within that timeframe.”

In my opinion there are three aspects to the private prison industry that one should ponder upon when judging its efficacy:

  1. 1.    Can a for-profit firm do the job cheaper? In my opinion it is impossible for a private entity to deliver the same level of care as a public entity. Profit is the underlying reason. We must consider that running a prison is in no way similar to manufacturing. In manufacturing the issue is efficiency and economy of scale. In dealing with humans one cannot use economy of scale as a comparison factor since one is not producing widgets. As for efficiency the question is how do you equal performance by increasing efficiency in a prison context. I don’t believe it can be done. Perhaps others might show me good reasons why it can be done.
  2. 2.    In our legal system should we surrender control of custodial care of criminals to private industry? My position is that there are certain functions inherent to any government that needs to be performed solely by government. Among these are military, fire fighters, police and the entire criminal justice system. This is not to say that any of these functions can’t be corrupted if run by government, or that any governmental system cannot be corrupt. Yet in my opinion if government makes the criminal law and if under that law people are incarcerated the ultimate responsibility for the caretaker function of that incarceration should fall to government. We see above that with youth facilities in Pennsylvania run as for-profit institutions a corrupt conspiracy developed to maintain levels of incarcerated youth at a profitable number and due to this judges were bribed and youths sent to jail merely to satisfy the need for profit. Do we really support that in our country, or in our States?
  3. 3.    Should a humane society treat its prisoners inhumanely? This shouldn’t be, but is, a subtle question today. I have little doubt that the majority of Americans believe that whatever happens to people convicted of crimes they deserve. To me that kind of thinking is institutionalized savagery. Yet I anticipate the well worn question of what if something was done to someone I love. The analogy amuses me because it assumes that my beliefs make me merely a passive do-gooder, which is far from the case. If someone I loved were hurt by a criminal I would have little compunction in killing them violently if I had the chance and would gladly accept the punishment for same. The problem is that as a society we almost never know for certain if the supposed guilty party really is guilty, whether if accused by the authorities, or convicted. The police may well accuse someone of murdering a loved one, but there have been too many murder convictions overthrown for a conviction ever to be a certainty. Too many people have been convicted by circumstantial evidence, or by eyewitness accounts proven to be untrue. Because of that uncertainty, my “avenging hand” would be stayed unless the crime occurred before my eyes. Since that is such an extremely rare happenstance the certainly of not killing an innocent is at enough of a level for me not to want to take the chance. By the same token the vagaries of our criminal justice system are such that perhaps 5%, to use a conservative estimate, of criminals are wrongly convicted. That 5% would represent more than 100,000 people and that’s assuming that the legal system gets it right 95% of the time. For those 100,000 innocent people to be brutalized by the system that deprives them of liberty is unacceptable to me. Then again, that’s why I am opposed to the death penalty which to me if it results in the death of one innocent person, has caused one death too many.

I believe that the entire concept of a privatized prison system is an abomination and even more so when we are dealing with the incarceration of youths. What is your opinion?

Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger,orrupt-corporate-incarceration-complex

113 thoughts on “The Private Prisons Profit on Youth

  1. LBJ let his hair grow long and just hung out on his ranch after he retired. He liked to drive around in his convertible drinking beer. When the can was empty he would just toss it in the air. No coincidence Lady Bird was the person who spearheaded cleaning up our highways and getting rid of billboards. Dredd, I don’t know how old you are, but I’m 60. When I was a kid, before the clean your highways campaign and littering fines, you would just throw your trash out the car window. I’m not talking just hillbillies. Jeff Goldblum grew up in Pittsburgh, his old man was an MD I believe. He did a hilarious riff on Letterman talking about that. Getting all the trash from a McDonalds and just throwing it out the window after eating in the car driving down the road. Not all the good ol’ days were so good.

  2. Blouise, It didn’t take long for the situation to deteriorate, I followed a link in that story to another article and did so again and came to this:

    “State continues to ponder Conneaut prison training facility

    “…. In early summer, city leaders learned of Cantagallo’s plan to construct a building on nearly nine acres of land he owns along East Main Road (Route 20) and Thompson Road. The property sits a short distance south of the prison. The building would be home to satellite operations of local industries and would provide training and employment for qualified inmates.

    Cantagallo outlined his proposal to ODRC officials, particularly members of the department’s Enterprise Development Advisory Board, in Columbus last month. The initial reaction was encouraging, he said Friday.

    “Questions were asked and people responded,” he said. “My take-away is that (the plan) was well-received.”

    The job training center could operate under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Prison Industry Enhancement program. If so, it would be the first PIE program in Ohio. To qualify, however, the center must meet certain criteria, including provisions related to inmate payment and private sector involvement. Also, jobs at the center cannot displace people employed prior to its start-up.

    When at full capacity, the center could employ upwards of 150 people, including civilian supervisors, Cantagallo said this summer. A portion of the inmates’ wages would be withheld for taxes and contributions to victim compensation programs. LaECI administrators have said their prison probably doesn’t have enough eligible inmates to fill the program, but others could be shipped in from other Ohio facilities.”

  3. Thanks Mike….

    Most juvenile training detention centers are exactly the opposite of what they should be there for…..

    The PA judges should be heavily penalized…..

  4. Nice spin, Mike. I’m supporting Mr. Turley’s wishes, et vous? I’m being civil, but you seem hung up on your version of truth. So now instead of “lies” or “liar” it’s “deceitful” that you are spewing toward me. Finally, even those who are your buddies got a laugh when you say about me, “He talks, you listen.” You “talk” here in long, sanctimonious, screeds, this latest being Exhibition 4258. That “echo chamber” hit a nerve. Deal w/ it, don’t lay it on me. Those were Mr. Turley’s words. I just quoted him. Please, for the sake of this blog that you purportedly love, move on and let this go. It will be better for you, also. Win/win.

    • “Those were Mr. Turley’s words. I just quoted him.”

      And what I related Nick, about Jonathan’s words to the Guest Bloggers, that you had apologized for your behavior and promised to curtail your attacks was also true and in my long post I pointed out that you. People who break promises are liars in my book and for that alone you’ve proven yourself to be a liar here, but we know there is so much more proof of your deception.

      ” You “talk” here in long, sanctimonious, screeds, this latest being Exhibition 4258.”

      Actually, I don’t. You actually comment more than 5 times more than I do. While it’s true that your comments are mostly non sequiturs, or nasty one-liners, they effectively interfere with discussion far more that they provide anything of interest. However, the real reason you don’t like my “sanctimonious screeds” is that when they’re directed at you I offer back up to what I say. With you, being the kind of slippery liar you are, one has to explain the “subtlety” of your “game”. I’ve called you dishonest and deceitful, but for the most part your deceit is done in what you mistakenly perceive is a non-direct manner. that is why I call you cowardly as well. Your attack on the “chattering classes” here and their wanting to impose an “echo chamber” was directed at who Nick? Do you deny that it was directed at those “guest bloggers” such as me, Gene, Elaine and Chuck?

      “Mike. I’m supporting Mr. Turley’s wishes, et vous? I’m being civil, but you seem hung up on your version of truth.”

      I was being civil as well in responding to your “civil” attacks. what you find uncivil was that I merely nailed what you were doing and pointed out how you constantly behave deceitfully here. And yes deceitfulness is one of the characteristics of a liar. You confuse civility, because you lack the capacity it seems. If I called Hitler a loathsome mass murderer would I be being uncivil? Now you’re certainly not Hitler, but you are a lying attempted bully and when you express the truth about someone that doesn’t mean one is being uncivil.
      However, if a person makes such a charge it behooves him to provide a clear statement of his reasons, hence my long comment, which was civilly written. As for being hung up on “my version of truth”, look in the mirror Nick.

      “BFM said he appreciated our discussion, so you taking up his “cause” seems more than a bit bizarre.”

      Now what is bizarre is your sentence above. I wasn’t taking up BFM’s cause as I explained BFM is more than capable of taking on anyone here and is perfectly capable of defending himself, as I pointed out. What you were doing with your comments to BFM was trying to set up an adversarial situation where none existed. I mostly agree with BFM’s comments as did most others. You were, rather incompetently, trying to instigate him and BTW he is not someone who is easily instigated. He has always been a very thoughtful and civil person on this blog. In that respect if you read his words in context:

      “Nick, it is a pleasure.
      You and I don’t always agree. But that does not bother me at all. I already know what I think. Why would I spend time on a web page where everyone thinks as I do.”

      It seems to be his nice way of saying that he doesn’t need your advice and counsel, which is classic of a classy commenter like BFM.

      “Please, for the sake of this blog that you purportedly love, move on and let this go. It will be better for you, also. Win/win.”

      Translation: “You’ve exposed my deceit enough and you are hurting this blog by doing it and that I’ll be in trouble with Jonathan if I don’t
      showing who you exactly are”. I’ll be in trouble how Nick. Are you going to E mail him again whining that you’re being attacked? Of course you will neglect the fact that you attacked initially and were being civilly responded to.

      Here’s the thing though Nick that really gives your true measure. The subject of this blog was the juvenile prison system and how it is abusing teens under their care. If you think about it Nick this was a softball lobbed in your direction. You after all have told us of your experience as a prison guard in Leavenworth, was it? What better place for you to let your anecdotes flow and your expertise shine through. All you chose to say on that subject was:

      “I have no problem w/ most govt. services being privatized…………. if you have not worked in a maximum security prison you have NO IDEA what these men are like, and how difficult it is to treat them w/ dignity, no freakin’ idea. And, that is why the employees must be govt. employees and held accountable by the govt.”

      Quite a fair comment, but then it was BFM who challenged your first statement about privatization:

      “@Nick Spinelli “I have no problem w/ most govt. services being privatized.”

      The promise of privatization was that competition would lead to similar quality of services at lower costs.

      That seems to be rarely the case.

      What we see now is frequently a mockery of the arguments used to justify privatization

      Why would anyone support privatization unless there were clearly documented advantages such as improved service or lower cost.”

      It was BFM, not the “chattering Guest Bloggers” who were taking issue with you. Rather than engage in a civil discussion with him on privatization, you chose to first make this all about Elaine and then about the rest of us, while
      patronizing him by implying he was being attacked. He politely declined your offer of assistance and you “mis-read” it as praise.

      I take the time to write this because I’m basically documenting and deciphering your deceitful behavior here. I have never been in favor of banning you Nick, but I also refuse to let you get away with your disruption and deceit. I’m merely creating a permanent record of that disruption and deceit for those who don’t spend the same amount of time here that I do.
      Lying behavior only works Nick when people don’t pay full attention and I am encapsulating your pathetic game for those readers who have something else to do in their lives, other than comment on this blog.

  5. Profits Over Justice: The 21st century prison system in America
    By Nicolas Rochon
    FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013


    The rise of CCA and The GEO Group

    Founded as the first private prison company in 1983, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) was the brainchild of three individuals – Tom Beasley, Robert Crants and Don Hutto – who already had strong ties to political, business and correctional offices in the state of Tennessee, respectively. As described by the Justice Policy Institute, the three “Uncovered a system plagued by overcrowding [and] tight budgets… convincing [them] that with a few simple applications of business practices the corrections system could be transformed from an inefficient bureaucracy to a profitable business.” Since its inception, CCA has grown to be a billion dollar company that constructs and manages 66 correctional and detention facilities across the US.

    Likewise, The GEO Group, originally Wackenhut Corrections Corporation, was founded in 1984 as a for-profit private corrections, detention and mental health treatment provider. Today, GEO runs 96 facilities in North America, Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Both the CCA and GEO record near 50 percent of their annual earnings through state level contracts, while the remaining 50 percent comes through contracts with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, US Marshals and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. As of 2010, these two private prison giants netted a total of $2.9 billion, as cited in the Justice Policy Institutes’s 2011 “Gaming the System” report. The same year, CCA’s President and CEO Damon T. Hininger received $3.2 million in executive compensation, while GEO Group’s Chairman and CEO George Zoley received $3.5 million, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). While all profits of private prisons come from government contracts at the state and federal level, it is taxpayer money that ultimately funds the durability of the private prison industry.

    The Justice Policy Institute writes, “With the promise of comparable corrections services at a greatly reduced cost, state, federal, and local governments have increasingly contracted with the private sector for the financing, design, construction, management, and staffing of prisons, jails, and other correctional facilities… Despite no conclusive evidence in the cost savings of private corrections, and growing evidence of significant collateral expenses borne by the public of incarcerating people in private prisons, the trend of for-profit prison privatization continues.”

    The American Legislative Exchange Council

    Reported by the American Civil Liberties Union, the population size of private prisons within the US has increased by more than 1,600 percent since 1990. To consider that before 1983 private prisons did not exist while today they house nearly 130,000 prisoners, the ACLU attests to the fact that the “private prison explosion went hand-in-hand with [the] massive increase in incarceration rates” during the same period. However, it is important to note that this correlation was not by accident. One of the biggest supporters and partners of companies like CCA and GEO is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization made of state legislators who have pushed harsh sentencing and detention laws into effect since 1975. In fact, ALEC legislators were responsible for enacting “truth in sentencing” and “three strikes” laws in as many as 27 states, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

    Described by one ALEC member in ACLU’s report, “The organization is supported by money from the corporate sector, and, by paying to be members, corporations are allowed the opportunity to sit down at the table and discuss the issues that they have an interest in. After ALEC meetings, legislators return to their home states with ALEC model legislation.”

  6. ALEC, For-Profit Criminal Justice, and Wisconsin
    Brendan Fischer
    July 18, 2011

    ALEC Alumni Scott Walker and For-Profit Prisons

    Current Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was a proud ALEC member when he was in the state legislature. Among the ALEC bills he introduced were “truth in sentencing” and several ALEC-inspired bills to privatize the state’s prison system; these bills had been approved by the ALEC Criminal Justice Task Force (of which the for-profit prison company Corrections Corporation of America is a member, and at times the co-chair). Since taking office, Governor Walker has continued to push these ALEC-supported “criminal justice” efforts.

    In 1997, then-Representative Walker introduced (and the legislature passed) the ALEC “truth in sentencing” act, which requires inmates serve their full sentence without options for parole or supervised release. The law takes away incentives for prisoners to reduce prison time through good behavior and participation in counseling, and eliminates the ability for judges and parole boards to decide that the financial and social costs of keeping a particular person incarcerated no longer furthers public safety goals. The state estimated that the first 21 months after the law took effect would require 990 inmates to spend 18,384 additional months in jail, costing taxpayers an extra $41 million. In the seven years after the law took effect, Wisconsin’s prison population increased 14%, with no correlative public safety benefit or additional decline in crime rates. Further, the annual budget for the state prison system increased from $700 million in 1999 to $1.2 billion in 2009, becoming the third-largest expenditure in the 2009-2011 state budget.

    At the time, “[t]here was never any mention that ALEC or anybody else had any involvement” in the crafting of the bill, said Walter Dickey, a former head of Wisconsin’s prison system and current University of Wisconsin Law Professor, and who had paid close attention to the truth-in-sentencing debate.

    During this period of growing prison populations, then-Representative Scott Walker introduced several bills between 1997 and 1999 that would allow private prisons in Wisconsin, including one to privatize state prison operations (see the ALEC bill here), and another allowing private corrections companies to open prisons in Wisconsin to house inmates from other states (see the ALEC bill here). Walker noted in 1998 that longtime ALEC member Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) wanted to expand into Wisconsin. While those bills did not pass, some inmates were contracted-out to private prisons in other states, and CCA has registered lobbyists in the state ever since.

    “Clearly ALEC had proposed model legislation,” Walker told American Radio Works in 2002. “And probably more important than just the model legislation, [ALEC] had actually put together reports and such that showed the benefits of truth-in-sentencing and showed the successes in other states. And those sorts of statistics were very helpful to us when we pushed it through, when we passed the final legislation.” Those statistics, though, were critiqued by criminologists as unreliable and intended to persuade rather than educate: Walker said that he and fellow ALEC members relied on an ALEC report crediting Virginia’s truth-in-sentencing law with a five-year drop in crime, but crime dropped in ALL states in the 1990s, regardless of whether a state passed tough-on-crime laws like truth-in-sentencing.

    Dickey said in 2002 it is “shocking” that lawmakers would write sentencing policy with help from ALEC, a group that gets funding from, and supposedly “expertise” from a private prison corporation.

    “I don’t know that they know anything about sentencing,” he said. “They know how to build prisons, presumably, since that’s the business they’re in. They don’t know anything about probation and parole. They don’t know about the development of alternatives. They don’t know about how public safety might be created and defended in communities in this state and other states.”

    (See this graphic from American Radio Works explaining the CCA-ALEC-Wisconsin sentencing law connection)

    The Wisconsin state legislature apparently recognized the folly of truth in sentencing and rolled-back aspects of the law between 2001 and 2009. When Scott Walker became governor, he reversed this progress and pushed for legislation fully restoring the ALEC corporation-supported truth in sentencing, despite the costs to taxpayers and despite claiming Wisconsin was “broke.” In early July, Governor Walker’s office released a statement supporting expanded use of prison labor, another idea promoted in ALEC bills. Some observers have speculated that private prisons are next.

  7. I’ve seen threads here take on a life of their own. They become toxic. You are toxic Mike. As I told you, I’ve been reading old threads predating my coming her last year. I am a lover and teacher of history. I started reading this latest screed, then I just stopped. I said to myself, this man who considers himself “An elder statesman” of this blog, or thinks others consider him that, went to bed angry..something we should never do, and woke up angry. He woke up spewing words like “liar” just trying to show everyone no one “is the boss of him.” That’s a quote from children’s vernacular. He will keep throwing out “liar” because he has seniority and NO ONE can stop him. I will not contribute to this becoming another one of those toxic threads.

    Watch some football, relax. I just hope one of your fellow Jet fans doesn’t cold cock some woman today.

  8. Banking on Bondage: Private Prisons and Mass Incarceration

    Executive Summary

    The imprisonment of human beings at record levels is both a moral failure and an economic one — especially at a time when more and more Americans are struggling to make ends meet and when state governments confront enormous fiscal crises. This report finds, however, that mass incarceration provides a gigantic windfall for one special interest group — the private prison industry — even as current incarceration levels harm the country as a whole. While the nation’s unprecedented rate of imprisonment deprives individuals of freedom, wrests loved ones from their families, and drains the resources of governments, communities, and taxpayers, the private prison industry reaps lucrative rewards. As the public good suffers from mass incarceration, private prison companies obtain more and more government dollars, and private prison executives at the leading companies rake in enormous compensation packages, in some cases totaling millions of dollars.

  9. What AY and Gene said about the judges needing to experience some alone time in prison.
    As usual, the ACLU article on private prisons is a good one and on point. Follow the money and it usually leads to corporations stealing from the public coffers.

  10. Here’s how I “bottom-line” the whole “privatized prison” thing…when you turn a prison into a for-profit entity, inmates become cheap labor, rehab turns into “do what we say”, and care becomes the least you can do to sustain human life. So, how do corporations become more profitable? They acquire more resources…and with each corrupt official that’s prosecuted, every litany of corners that get cut, it seems to me the way is being paved for a class-action suit against these monstrous entities,who, as legally-fictitious “persons” seem to have more protections than the humans they emulate for legal purposes. I hope that day comes sooner rather than later. I am hopeful because THE UN has actually tried to get into some CA prisons after allegations of abuse of solitary confinement practices, but that seems to be just the tip of the iceberg. (I doubt most private prisons would meet any UN international standards for care or concern.) Excellent work everybody. (For an adjunct on how private prisons exacerbate the suffering of their “human capital”(ie, slaves), please read this linked story about GlobalTel, one of those odious companies profiting from cell-mates. I have personal experience with the low-quality of their “services”, e.g., phone calls that require pushing buttons to accept, which then drop about 60% of the time, and are still debited from the deposited funds. Same as with replenishing a deposit:if your balance is zero, you must wait until the inmate calls you and then you’re forced through a labyrinthine pushbutton menu maze which includes typing in a credit card number, having it repeated to you, then waiting for verification, and when this is done, the call is cut off and you are, naturally,charged for it. This really needs to be investigated. Here’s the link to read for yourself:

    • “Here’s how I “bottom-line” the whole “privatized prison” thing…when you turn a prison into a for-profit entity, inmates become cheap labor, rehab turns into “do what we say”,”

      Garry Todd,

      I couldn’t think of a better summation of the issue, you nailed it elegantly.

  11. Please accept this belated comment for the “record”. This is not specifically about juvenile treatment but it fits into the general discussion. As one who experienced first-hand the inhumane treatment of federal prisoners at a federal prison in the CCA network of private prisons, I can tell you that the thirst for money is what drives these guys.

    I was made to sleep on the floor with several others in a cell built for two men. The absolute lack of space put my head near the toilet. More than once I got the sprinklings of urine from my cellmates who had to go in the middle of the night.

    Eventually, they got you into a bunk bed but then others would come into the cell and it would be overcrowded again, and the poor newcomer would have to sleep on the floor and suffer the potential hazards. I’m sure the owners did not think about correcting the overcrowding or other embedded problems — they were yachting and jet-setting with the hundreds of millions poured into their coffers by the American taxpayers.

    Overcrowding was tame in comparison to the famous lockdowns in the Northern Ohio venue. They close everything up for weeks at a time. No one gets out of the cell. Cold, lifeless “food” is brought to the cell, each portion mixed into the other, globs of mush that only the truly cold-hearted of us could partake. You get to wash for 10 minutes twice a week. No exercise, no walks, no nothing — just sitting in your cell ad infinitum, 24 hours, 7 days and then so on.

    The lockdowns were punishment for incidents where someone shanked someone else out in the yard, an event that myself and thousands of others knew nothing about. Being a novice, during these lockdowns I almost got killed a few times because my unseemly bouts of crying and depression were taking others down and getting them mad. I was struck and pushed and mangled by equally frustrated men and mindless, sadistic young gang-bangers on several occasions. I had been treated for chronic depression for years and being in lockdown for doing nothing other than existing was a good prescription for making it exponentially worse.

    Add to it an uncontrollable fear of claustrophobic confinement and the lockdowns were a constant talk with death for someone in my weakened emotional condition. There was no help and no one to plead to in this forsaken maze of horrors that my government paid millions to keep in business.

    The food is unmanageable and as barren as a deadened blade of grass. These wayward stations of the more understated form of torture are indefensible to those who’ve been there, who know the truth. This was not one man’s experience …. I researched the situation as well as I could and found the lockdowns were a regular practice for years, a way to cut their budget even more by giving no services and keeping everyone stopped in one spot for weeks at a time. Where were the overseers from the federal government? Where were those who were supposed to see what was being done with the boondoggles of money put into the hands of the owners?

    The over-crowding is a necessity. It has gone on for yeas and is a way for these firms to get a double flow of federal tax money constantly pouring in. Why tell the government that you have no more space when that will bring in less revenue? And so the injustice of inhumanity continues on, and no reporting or complaining is going to change the economic power principles that are the cemented foundation for the success of these human sardine cans.

    • JJ Keller,

      The conditions you describe are more than inhumane, they are despicable. The US prides itself on being exceptional, yet these conditions equal those in countries we disdain as primitive. The concept of for profit prisons for youths, or for adults inevitably leads to such miscarriages of justice. Beyond that though it seems a little historical research will reveal that even the publicly run prison systems have met the standard of cruel and unusual punishment. A society must be judged on how it treats people in all categories and unfortunately our society fails the humanity test.

Comments are closed.