I want in this blog to speculate, to talk about disturbing possibilities that may be emerging, but first, once again, read this interesting article courtesy of Russian TV:
Now before I get to my speculations, I want to share some personal anecdotes. Years ago, when I lived in Jokelahoma, I had a close and dear friend in one of these private for profit prisons. This friend, additionally, had a terminal illness and was dependent upon medications that had to be delivered in a regular and timely fashion. Of course, this particular private-for-profit prison ran out of my friend’s medications, often, and repeatedly. Protests to the administration and even the State government of Jokelahoma went nowhere. There was no humanity, no compassion, anywhere to be found. And I suspect others who have people in these institutions have experienced a similar phenomenon. Inmates literally become wards of a corporation, assets on the books, another lamentable legacy of the Reagan era and its Friedmanesque drive to privatize everything.
Leave it again, therefore, to RT TV to imply a problem: jailing people in the USA is increasingly being done for profit. And that leads me to my wild speculation of the day. The recent passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, which effectively strips away the last of the Bill of Rights, might be taken in conjunction with this well-established precedent of private prisons, such that, with the financial meltdown occurring, the American people are reduced to “assets” for “debtors’ prisons”; we are looking, in short, at a revival of the worst aspects of western culture, including a kind of forced indentured servitude. Consider the corporate-government rot and corruption, the cynical lack of humanity in these two paragraphs:
“Corrections Corporation of America officers have been linked to the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, which has in turn lobbied for increased sentencing for inmates convicted of non-violent crimes across the country and helped pass the controversial immigration law in Arizona. Corrections Corp. themselves have lobbied for Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070, and the reasoning is simple: an more stringent immigrant laws means more arrests and, thus, more jam-packed for-profit prisons.
“In 2009 reports obtained by National Public Radio, the CCA wrote that they expected “a significant portion of our revenues” from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement pays around $90 every day for each detainee that their work helps land behind bars.”
There you have it: go round up people for non-violent crimes so that the corporations running these institutions can increase their profit margins. It’s only a short step before these corporations will introduce – as some already have – the idea that these inmates can be used for manufacturing….at sweat shop wages, and only a short step from that until they will be compelled to do so, and a short step from that until these same corporations will “increase profits” by reducing “overhead,” that’s things like medication and decent nutrition… if this progress sounds familiar, it should. Just think I.G. Farben, and Auschwitz….