In the discussion thread: Working-class mothers in the post-recession economy: Some sobering stats [View all]
Response to HiPointDem (Reply #23)
Sat May 18, 2013, 05:08 PM
RainDog (28,784 posts)
25. The For-Profit Prison Economy, with its racist basis
surely has an impact upon employment opportunities, beyond the basics of economic life, such as access to opportunities by who you know, the history of wealth accumulation among a very few, to the exclusion of everyone else, and laws that have worked to undo advances previously made in this nation to actually have a govt. that serves the people of this nation, not just the rich people of this nation.
From 1980 to 2008, the number of people incarcerated in America quadrupled-from roughly 500,000 to 2.3 million people. Today, the US is 5% of the World population and has 25% of world prisoners.
From The Sentencing Project's "Prison Privatization and the Use of Incarceration" (2004) - the War on Drugs became the spur to create private prisons because of overcrowding in prisons from the laws enacted (Mandatory Minimums, Three Strikes, Stop and Frisk, sentencing disparities based upon race.)
The current for-profit prison system, begun in the 1980s, has made the U.S. more of a penal colony than China - that's the gift from conservatives that keeps on giving, year after year, with cumulative effects on earning power over a lifetimes, as well as effects on employment options.
-African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population
-African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites
-Together, African American and Hispanics comprised 58% of all prisoners in 2008, even though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately one quarter of the US population.
-5 times as many Whites are using drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites
-African Americans serve virtually as much time in prison for a drug offense (58.7 months) as whites do for a violent offense (61.7 months).
This isn't the first time various states have used prison to deny rights to African-Americans. During Reconstruction, whites could arrest blacks (mostly men) and put them on work gangs - and this was never challenged because of the racism that undergirded the practice among the powerful.
Another function of the for-profit prison system is to increase population numbers in rural, predominantly white areas of states, which gives more voting power to those who are elected from those areas - and this, as well, becomes a self-reinforcing form of racism because it is in the vested interests of politicians and certain members of the population to create economies built on imprisoning other members of society.
Kurt Schmoke, former mayor of Baltimore, noted that the war on drugs is really a war on African-Americans and Hispanics, since they are disproportionately singled out for arrest and because, when other avenues to create revenue are blocked, illegal activity is the way for someone to make money outside of the system in place for those who are either part of the elite or the few who get "elevated" to the elite to serve as a sop to everyone else of a particular race or gender so they can ignore the systemic dysfunction that comes from the racism and sexism that is part of the foundation of the history of property.
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|Starry Messenger||May 2013||#5|
|Starry Messenger||May 2013||#9|
|Egalitarian Thug||May 2013||#16|
The For-Profit Prison Economy, with its racist basis
|Egalitarian Thug||May 2013||#24|
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